Sunday 17 April 2016

Trust your gut...and your editor

Trust your editor -
Even if she does use you as a head rest!
I am in the final stages of Flight and I had one of those conversations with Imogen Cooper, my editor. You know the sort - It's not ending in the right place, you know that don't you? And yes I did. I had known it for quite a while but just wouldn't listen to my gut. And what do I always advise my students - listen to your gut - but obviously seemed incapable of doing the same myself.

This is what happened. My current WIP, Flight, consists of several journeys including a journey home, which logically should be the ending, shouldn't it? That is how I wrote it, but it felt wrong. It felt contrived and added on. It felt like it was a whole new story. I rewrote it several times over.  I did a mass of extra research to add depth. Adding in several additional incidences to make it exciting.  But it still didn't feel right, and I, in my wisdom, kept ignoring the fact, kept hoping it was my imagination, and I was just being too fussy.

It actually came as a great relief when Imogen said everything I was thinking. Firstly it meant I wasn't going mad. Secondly, it meant I should have just trusted my gut. But I think I needed to write the end of the journey in order to know when it should finish. There is in fact a natural ending that ends on hope but doesn't get them home. It feels right though.

This is why it is so wonderful working with a good editor and one that you trust. You need someone who will trust your gut too and who understands how you work. Who will pick up these things and not hesitate to say that they don't think they are working. They will ask the right questions of the narrative and the author. I do wonder, if I hadn't been working with an editor, how long I would have left it as it was because I would have convinced myself that they needed to finish the journey. Would my gut have shouted loudly enough and with enough confidence?  I am grateful that Imogen understands me and my novel. Hopefully Flight will be flying soon.

I find it really satisfying and rewarding to discuss edits of their work either with my students or with Eggs from Golden Egg Academy. It always surprises me that it is easier to find issues in someone else's work than it is your own. Why is it like that?  

Keep writing, have faith in yourself, your gut and your editor. They have your back.

Anyone who knows what my WIP is about will understand the choice of music

No comments:

Post a Comment