Thursday, 20 December 2007

Countdown to Caligula

Another interesting night. I completed the first draft of my second book in the Rufus series on the train and when I got home I had the copy-edit manuscript for Caligula waiting for me. Another first. Everything so far has been by e-mail, this was a proper 416 page, four-inch slab of typescript with real proof-reader's marks. I only had time to scan the notes and the first few pages, but it was obvious the copy-editor had a beautiful light touch and was able to make a big difference to the flow and clarity of the narrative without making major changes. She also instantly spotted a flaw I'd missed in my first 40-odd readings. I'll start properly at the weekend.


When Sara at Orion critiqued The Emperor's Elephant she made a few observations and said a lot of nice things. So when she said she wanted to see the rest of the book I thought I had it made. How could she not like it? And that feeling was heightened to fever pitch when she dropped me an e-mail saying she wanted to talk about the book in person. I'd made it, right? Cue the fall that comes after the pride bit. I phoned her from work and she was very positive, but it wasn't until she told me 'We considered making you an offer' that I realised they weren't actually going to.
My heart sank as she explained that what she was suggesting was that I rewrite the first 100 pages of my 400 page book and turn it into a novel on its own. The good news was that she thought there were two novels worth of material - the bad news was that I'd basically have to start from scratch. My first feeling was 'This is my book she's talking about' but it lasted for five seconds before I saw the sense of what she was saying. She was in the business. I could write, the Youwriteon experience had given me confidence about that, but I knew nothing about selling books. So I said, yes, I'll give it a go, and I'd send it back to her once I'd done it. She gave me a few general suggestions and advised that I centre it on Caligula's assassination. I went home and consigned the last 80,000 words of the book once known as The Emperor's Elephant into a file marked 'see you later' and started work. The strange thing was that it felt like another step forward.

1 comment:

Lexi said...

I'm repeating myself, but this is SO interesting.

Particularly as one knows you are heading, not perhaps for a happy ending, but for good and exciting happenings.

Spare us no details...

Yours, an avid reader,

aka Lexi