A Second Look

Celia Moore and friends

Chudleigh Writers’ Circle member Celia Moore’s next book will be published in May 2021 and today Celia is sharing her thoughts about having her work edited.

“Watching All Creatures Great and Small recently, and the bit where James Herriot reaches the crossroads and decides to return to Darrowby, made me think of all the turning points, the reverses and changes in direction I’ve made so far in my three year writing journey.

I set off writing my debut novel with only the destination in mind. I knew the story I wanted to tell, and this was all I focused on for months while I wrote Fox Halt Farm. It wasn’t until I’d ‘finished’ my manuscript that I contemplated how to get it published. Luckily, advice came in spades – the writing world is such a generous community, everyone quick to help with hints and tips, and anecdotes of their own experiences, all enthusiastic for your success.

One of my main turning points was an oh-so-gently worded email to me from the fabulous book blogger, Anne Williams, and one particular line in it. ‘I’d really recommend that you think about getting someone to take another look.’

Anne had read a couple of pages of my polished manuscript and her comment made me think about what I’d written in a new light. Her advice led me to my amazing editor. I’m so grateful to Anne because working with my editor, Amanda Horan, feels like I’ve won the lottery because my editor seems to ‘get me’ and understands my writing goals.

I’m about to start the final edit of my third book (the concluding part of the Fox Halt Farm trilogy) and again, Amanda has offered up suggestions, highlighting where I need to think about better ways to write something, or telling me where she feels the story is stalling. She identifies sections needing more drama and asks if some parts are really needed at all?

Every rewrite feels like a major transition. A bit like the way you can see an artist’s work mature as they hone new painting skills or colouring techniques, as they experiment with their medium; fail or succeed, try again and improve. You can hold up their first works to scrutiny against the one they’ve just finished and immediately see how the latest piece has developed. And so it is with my writing, I didn’t know what I didn’t know!

I wrote and rewrote every sentence, paragraph, page and chapter. Each time applying different techniques and always keeping Amanda’s feedback in mind. She has been a guide but she never takes over, letting me find my own way through the problems she sees.

There are so many elements I’ve tackled: removing a rash of adverbs; altering the story to make the character’s behaviour more realistic; increasing dialogue and giving hints about what happens in the future pages; and keeping the plot exciting so the reader is desperate to turn the next page.

I feel I’ve ended up with two first novels that I’m proud to have my name on but still, I’ve lots to learn and I hope Amanda keeps escorting me along my winding way, sometimes going forward but other times turning back or finding a new direction.

This is Amanda’s website if you’d like to find out more about her. My books are available on my website. Thank you for reading this and please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or thoughts.”

Celia Moore

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Filed under Creative, Member News, Training, Viewpoint, Writers' resources

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