Well, at half past ten on Saturday night I typed the words THE END on page 300 of the first draft of The Charmed Return and sent it off to the UK editors.
Now, as most of you know by now - this is not the end of the line for the book. For a start, don’t make too much of the 300 page thing - at this stage the book is typed up double-spaced. I’m not quite sure why this is still the case. It used to be so that editors could write their comments between the lines when the books were sent off on paper, but I think these computerised days, when the book is an email attachment, it’s just tradition.
Anyway, the book will now be read and commented on by two UK editors - Karen and Rosie, with whom I have been working since The Immortal Realm. They’ll be getting back to me in a few weeks, at which point I will check through what they have suggested and make all the changes that I think help make the book better. These changes can range from places where I haven’t explained things very well (places where I know what’s going on, but I kind of forget the reader doesn’t…), and places where I’ve repeated words too often - and places where things might work better if they are put in a slightly different order. It can also include some “strikeout” - which is where the editors put a line through words, phrases, sentances or paragraphs that they think are not necessary - you know, where I repeat myself or tell readers things that the editors don’t think are relevant. Editors are also really keen on pace and action - and they’ll always be looking to keep the story moving at speed, so I sometimes have to be careful they don’t want interesting stuff edited out just to keep the plot moving fast. Descriptions of places are always being edited down in this way - they think people get bored by long descriptions of places.
Something else they do is to ask me to put some dialogue in among long action scenes - and to put some action in among conversations - they also think readers get bored by action without conversation and conversation without action.
Very occasionally, they will ask me to take out entire scenes because they think they are not relevant to the plot. Sometimes I will agree to this, sometimes not.
But among all this editing, I can tell you one thing - they have never tried to edit the songs or poems.
Anyway, I’ll let you know when the book comes back from Rosie and Karen, and how much work they want me to do on it, and whether I agree with it all.