Tom Palmer's writing blog - How I write: how you write, Part Eight
Posted by Tom Palmer
11 Jul 2011
I have just delivered the first book of my new series, the Squad, emailing it to Alex, my editor at Puffin Books. But that doesn’t mean I’ve finished it. Not by a long way. Now I have to wait for a couple of weeks for Alex to go through it.
Will she like it? That’s the big question. And the next question: what will need changing?
I don’t doubt there will be a lot to change. The book is the first in a new series, so it has to be as well-done as possible. The good thing about all this is that I don’t mind the editing process at all. I actually like it.
Well, sort of.
When I am first asked about making changes, I sometimes disagree. But once I have thought about it a bit, I usually come round to thinking the publisher has a point. Before I was published by Puffin I had a book published that wasn’t edited at all. I felt pretty good about it at the time; I thought it meant I was a really good writer. But, looking back at that book, I can see it is full of things I wish I could change.
Some publishers don’t edit. They want to get the book out there and they don’t care as much about its quality. Puffin do care about quality. That is why I expect quite a few changes.
In my first book for Puffin there was one very big alteration that they suggested. They wanted to change the ending. The story is about Danny Harte, who solves crimes to do with football. In the first book the man who kidnaps a footballer (a football club chairman) dies at the end of the book. But Puffin liked him and asked me to keep him alive. They wanted him to be in the second book of series, maybe more.
I wasn’t sure at the time, but I now know that they were right. The character was great in book two and in later things I wrote. Puffin were spot on.
It’s not easy having someone read your stories and for them to say there is a lot of room for improvement. You can feel like they are wrong. You can think that you’re not bothered about changing it and that you’re just going to leave it as it is.
But spending some time reworking bits of a story can make it a little better. And, sometimes, the view of someone else who wants to help you can make it a lot better.
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