Friday, 23 November 2007


I cracked on, and I'm on top of the edits. Why did I ever glibly say, "Writing's easy"? Thank you, those of you who've experienced the process, for not laughing at my naivety. (Not in my hearing, anyway.)


I am really enjoying blogging again. I've received so many supportive comments from my blogbuddies. It has really made a difference and kept my spirits up. (I know I should say 'kept me sane' but...) Seriously, we hear so much about all the evils in the world, it's comforting to know the world is full of goodhearted people being kind.


I've been edited and I have to say that, painful as it sounds, I loved the experience. I've been on an amazing journey of discovery, learning to control my creative talent. I'm not skilled yet, but I'm on my way. I won't reveal how many of my 80,000 words I cut, but my title, Cut Short, took on a rather ironic significance . I'm not sure I can admit where I went off the rails. Perhaps it was inevitable, as I've churned out 6 books in a year, without much thought. "Can it really be this easy?" I thought. Guess what: it isn't.


Yes, I've been edited, and I loved every minute of it. I've had the cut, and been initiated: I am now a writer. Of course, I've said that before, and I'll have to wait and see what my brilliant editor says to the revised MS...





57 comments:

moonrat said...

god, i wish more of MY authors felt like this!! good for you!

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks Moonrat. I'm guessing most of your authors - in fact most authors - have more idea of what they're doing than me. But I'm a fast learner. Just as well, as it's been a very steep curve.
I bet your authors love you to pieces but are just too curmudgeonly to say so. Just realised, I'm blogging with an editor! RESPECT!!!

Sleepy said...

You are being very calm about it!
I'm not a writer but I think I'd have a problem cutting anything I'd written!

Leigh Russell said...

Sleepy I was ruthless! It was the only way. It was tough, but I placed the bit firmly between my gritted teeth,and went for it and it turned out to be an amazing journey for me. I learned so much. I'm lucky to have a very experienced editor and, aware that I'm a complete novice at this game, I put my trust in her completely. I could publish my first version together with the final one, as a guide on how not to write... but I don't think anyone but my publisher, my editor and I will ever be able to compare my first MS with the final version because I won't let anyone see my first attempt. I think that makes my opinion on the edit's cuts clear. You'll just have to trust me on this, Sleepy! Thank you for visiting and blog soon. It's always good to hear from you.

Leigh Russell said...

edit's should have been editor's in the previous comment. Not a Freudian slip - I changed edit to editor's cuts carelessly. Another reason for the editor's eagle eye...

Akasha Savage said...

Hi, I found you through Hawkin's Bizarre. I too am writing a novel: horror/fastasy is my genre. I am about halfway through the second draft of my book and dream of the day when I have a publishing deal. Well Done you!!

Elizabeth Platt said...

YAY, you're back! I've missed your blog entries. Good luck with the final check from your editor. 6 books in one year? Wow! That's a lot. I'm struggling with one. Well, one and a comic series, but still, it's nothing compared to yours.

Bill Clark said...

Well done, ye! (William Mayne's book about the Choir School at Canterbury, "A Swarm in May", was one of my boyhood faves, and that's what the choristers said to each other by way of approval.)

It sounds to me as though you've accomplished an incredible amount in one week. I take it you can now relax and blog away to your heart's content? Yay, yippee, hurray!

Middle Ditch said...

Hi Leigh, welcome back to blogging. My editor is my ruthless husband. We can argue over one line for ages, but he usually wins the argument and he is usually right. Without him the scripts would not be as complete as they are.

Alis said...

Hi Leigh - glad to have you back blogging! Also glad you found being edited such a positive experience. I did too, actually (thank goodness for talented editors, eh?) and felt that my editor at MNW, Will, had helped me produce the book I had always meant to write. Hope you feel the same about Cut Short, which I am really dying to read! Enjoy the relative peace post-edit!

sheoflittlebrain said...

Thanks Leigh, for leaving such a lovely comment on my blog! I've been enjoying reading your posts, and want to congratulate you on publishing your thriller! I'm going to find a copy as it sounds just my cup of tea.. I'm a big time reader, and most of my favorite authors are from your side of the pond:)

Julie said...

Good to have you back!

Who was it said 'Kill your Darlings?'

Mima said...

Glad to hear that the editing phase was much less painful that many people report it to be! Having an experienced editor must make a huge difference, and it must also be really interesting to see where and what he/she has cut or changed.

Church Lady said...

You made me laugh with the joke about your title!
I keep seeing your name/avatar, and have popped by once. I'm fascinated in the process of getting a book out. Hope you don't mind if I'm a voyeur (although I won't just lurk!)
Happy Weekend!
:-)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi church lady - you are very welcome. Please drop by any time.

I'll be saying more about the editing when I've finished working on it - and when I've had time to work out how to blog about it without making myself look too ridiculous.... I wonder if I can make out I've been suffering in the cause of my art? (as opposed to putting right the glaring flaws which my editor pointed out in my MS?) It has been a truly amazing journey. More to come when I'm done. (Assuming I'm not done for by then!)

Julie said...

Leigh, just to say I've run into a problem in that it appears google can trawl all these blogs and comments - everything is accessible to the public unless they are restricted to invited readers or authors only.

I assumed I'd cancelled access on mine but that isn't the case. Doubt there is any harm done, but I need a rethink as we have a lot of contacts. I'll be in touch, Julie.

Bill Clark said...

Message to Julie: I can't access your blog! :-(

Apparently I am not an "invited reader"...do you have to input my email address so I can get back in?

Help! It's lonely here out with all the other non-invitees!

Leigh Russell said...

Um Bill... message to Julie... not even 'hallo' to me...? And I thought you were a gentleman.

Hi Julie - nice to hear from you.

Middle Ditch said...

Julie is right! I find my comments everywhere on google. Especially the ones where I signed of with Monique. Frightening.

Charles Gramlich said...

Glad to see you back, and glad the editing process helped you with your thinking about writing. Sometimes editing can be very benificial, although at times it doesn't help. Depends so much on the editor.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Charles. I'm sure that's right. This was my first experience of being edited. I was fortunate to have an experienced editor. Her expertise, combined with my inexperience, made it an easy decision for me to follow her guidance (on a copy of my MS in case I changed my mind!) After working slavishly through her suggestions in a very intensive session - about 35 hours in 2 days - I began to understand what she was doing and even began to see my writing through her eyes. It was a very intense and salutary lesson. I hope I've learned to see how my writing might come across to a reader, as opposed to just indulging my creative will. It's a subtle but crucial distinction, I think.

To be fair, when I started to write, I never thought I'd ever be published, so was just churning it out, having fun. It has become altogether more serious as I don't want to let the publisher down. After all, she had enough faith in my potential to take me on. The most exciting thing is that I do feel my random and uncontrolled scribblings have been transformed into something more like a book. I think I've said this before on my blog... something else my editor would pick up on!

Blogging is actually so cool because I can just ramble on. Writing a book, I now appreciate, is not the same. (How come I never realised that before? you may well ask.I've been asking myself the same question! I guess the whole creative output happened so fast, I never stopped to think.)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi AKASHA and thanks for visiting. I'll try and find you and take a look at what you're up to.

ELIZSABETH thanks for visiting again. I'm beginning to realise that speed isn't everything - hence my huge edit! I'm sure you're working more slowly to get things right first time. My 6 books in a year are actually 6 huge rambles. I need to do some more work on them before they're finished. But it's great to have so much material to knock into shape, so at least it's not been wasted effort in terms of producing books. Comics sound fun!

MIDDLE DITCH you're lucky to have an editor on tap. Must be why you're scripts are always so neat. How's it all going? I must pop over to have a look. Blog soon.

ALIS that's exactly right. The book was there to be written, I just lost sight of it. You're spot on.

SHEOFLITTLEBRAIN thank you. I'll let you know when the book's out or you can preorder it on Amazon, I think. Lovely to hear from you.

Hey, JULIE - I think the darlings nearly killed me! Will visit your blog as soon as you remove your sentinel gremlins.

MIMA thank you for visiting. You're right, it was a really interesting experience. Lots of hard work, but amazing. Happy Birthday again. Blog soon.

CHURCH LADY - Thank you for visiting my blog and please feel free to lurk or comment as the mood takes you.

fizzycat said...

Can see you are beginning to feel more confident as a writer in dealing with work cut and edited. Now the cotton wool crisis is over as that guest has left...for now.

Henrietta said...

Hello Leigh and thank you for dropping in again. I have been neck deep in churning out words having given up procrastination and waded in to this year's NaNoWriMo.

I have done so with an off the cuff piece I shall say a little bit about once that first draft is finished - should have been today but the day didn't go as planned and now should be tomorrow. That's why I've been quieter than usual.

It is always lovely to hear from you and I'm delighted to discover that it is possible as a writer to enjoy the process of editing.

My own highly informal and I suppose rather idiosyncratic approach is bundling up my jottings and stuffing them under the bed (metaphorically) where I can pretend they doesn't exist.

The alternative always looks about as enticing as root canal work without pain killers.

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Russell said...

JULIE, If you read this - personally, I'm quite happy for my blog to be open. I've received so many lovely comments from other bloggers, and visited so many interesting people all round the world. I wouldn't have been able to do that if my blog was 'closed'. I'm going to stop visiting you for a while as you seem a little edgy about the whole blogging experience - your blog was closed anyway, I think. If you're not finding it fun, maybe it's best to just drop it? Thank you for all your help with the gremlins, I won't forget! Take care in the real world and thanks for visiting.

Leigh Russell said...

Hey, Henrietta - I have a shredder at work.... !!! If I tried your approach, I think my bed might be up to the ceiling by now... I think the cleaners at work are a little puzzled about the black bags that appear from time to time in my classroom, stuffed with shredded paper. So far I haven't shredded the 'right' version... but I save my work on THREE memory sticks just in case. Why three? Someone once told me they're not 100% reliable, so I thought, what if the one I'm using lets me down? I started using two. Then I thought but what if they both let me down.... I'm being serious! I'm not totally neurotic (OK. I am) I just have a lively imagination. It's because I'm a writer... OK, a neurotic writer
Great to hear from you again. And still in pink, I see.

Leigh Russell said...

ELIZABETH Sorry, I see I spelled your name wrong. And after you wrote such an amazingly lovely tribute on your blog. Of course I visit your blog, and will do again soon.

I love reading all the blogs of people who visit here. It takes time, though, and I've been tied up with edits. Another week and I'm showing the edited MS to my publisher, then back to the editor the following week. (And I thought this was going to be easy! After that, I should have time for some serious blogging!

Leigh Russell said...

ELIZABETH Sorry, I see I spelled your name wrong. And after you wrote such an amazingly lovely tribute on your blog. Of course I visit your blog, and will do again soon.

I love reading all the blogs of people who visit here. It takes time, though, and I've been tied up with edits. Another week and I'm showing the edited MS to my publisher, then back to the editor the following week. (And I thought this was going to be easy! After that, I should have time for some serious blogging!

Leigh Russell said...

)! and I checked it! You see my problem, Elizabeth? Just as well I'm a writer, not an editor!

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Russell said...

Hi JULIE - as in La Petite Anglaise?

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flowerpot said...

I hated cutting what I'd written at first but when you see the results it does make a difference. That old adage, 'kill the darlings,' really does work sometimes! Good for you. Very exciting.

Lesley Cookman said...

I'd give several teeth to be edited well - and my problem is always the looming and unsurmountable 85,000 words. I used to write for magazines and have a tendency to write with arms tied by my side.

Can't wait to read yours.

PS Will try and blog about recent book signing, but I seem to be snowed under with other stuff!

The World According to Me said...

Here’s to editing and revised MS’s!
Glad the experience hasn’t put you off!

Lane said...

Gosh well done. Sounds like you edit as fast as you write! I am soo looking forward to editing. Just got to finish the darn thing first:-)

Lily Moon said...

Six books in a year, wow! Editing is hard, but I'm beginning to feel a certain amount of liberation from being able to let words go.

Leigh Russell said...

I wish I'd never claimed to have written six books in a year. Six MS of 80,000 words does not make six books, not the way I've been writing. It takes more thought. So can I please amend my earlier comment to say I've produced very rough material for about ten books. Fast doesn't = good, I've discovered! and no, I didn't realise that before... no need to rub it in!

Bill Clark said...

Um Bill... message to Julie... not even 'hallo' to me...?

HALLO, Leigh!! :-)

Sorry 'bout that. I was in panic mode because I couldn't read Julie's blog and didn't know how else to leave a message for her except on Leigh's Handy-Dandy All-Purpose Message Board - er, Blog, that is.

I'm with you about open blogs, and search engines be damned. As Yul Brynner notably said in "The Ten Commandments", "So let it be written. So let it be done." What I write, I write, and if anybody wants to make anything of it, that's their problem. We have this little thing called freedom of speech in this country...or at least we used to, and perhaps will again under a new administration. :-)

Happy Monday!!

The Real Mother Hen said...

Hang in there :)

Leigh Russell said...

in panic mode Bill? You are in urgent need of a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... assuming the virtual world of blogging is part of the same galaxy... ?

Julie said...

Leigh -

Just to say I think its a pity Blogger don't have a more neutral choice of slogan's to give the option of closing blogs for a brief spell without sending out the wrong message.

I had a popular photo website running a few years ago and often used to pull the whole thing offline for awhile if there was a hitch or I wanted to change the layout, but then, I suppose everyone has their own approach.
Be better if we could insert our own text.

ANNA-LYS said...

Hi Leigh,
Nice to see You ON (in many meanings ;-)

Have You ever considered a follow up novel ... build only upon the edited words and creative thinking around those ...
The Life of Edit(h) *lol* could be a real thriller with many many deep deeps ;-)
Of course the sceneries takes place online ... and we become ghost-edit(h)s when it slowly grows up and become a film.



((hug))

Catherine said...

Wow Leigh! Where do you get the time to write, blog, teach.....??!! You are one of the enviable - mountains and mountains of energy!!! Can you spare a small mound of it please?

Bill Clark said...

in panic mode Bill? You are in urgent need of a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...

I dunno, Leigh...by the time Douglas Adams was my age he was dead. Doesn't do much to reduce the panic factor around here....

I've always felt Adams to be a kindred spirit...we both bought the original 128K Mac in 1984, and considered it a pivotal event in our writing lives. I hope they've given him a more recent model up in the Elysian Fields, or wherever else in the galaxy he may be....

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Hi Leigh, for a moment there I thought I wouldn't be able to spell your name. My 'g' is playing up and I have to hit it very hard about 5 times before it does anything.ggg.

I'm glad to see you're back, and am looking forward to readin the finished product. Sounds like it will be fab.

6 books is really really impressive. Keep up the good work and visit me sometimes.

Kara Dunn said...

Leigh, I'm glad you made it through edits. Your story sounds pretty typical. Which makes me a tad nervous as my editor barely changed anything in 80K. I'm hoping neither of us missed anything. But the proof will be in the pudding I guess!

By the by... my blog is finally up and running. Please do swing by.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi MOTHER HEN, I'm hanging... Thanks for visiting. We all need a mother hen from time to time.

ANNA-LYS - I love the idea of the life of Edit(h) !! I moved all my cut material into another document. Enough ideas for about 3 more books...

CATHERINE - I write all the time, blog from time to time, teaching I've been doing it for a long time... As for energy? I start the day with a bowl of porridge and then don't stop till I drop...

BILL - I don't even have a Mac for the rain (and that's in England.) Is this where I've been going wrong?

ANNE - hey, have some of mine: gggggg gggggg GGGGGG GGGGGG I bet you're glad you mentioned it now!

KARA - you are clearly the sort of writer editors love. I'm afraid I must be giving mine nightmares. Hopefully I'll have a better idea of what I'm supposed to be doing next time! But well done to you. I'm impressed. What's your secret?
I tried to look at your blog - still not there!

Kara Dunn said...

Not sure why it's not working for you. But going to my website KaraDunn.com and then clicking on my blog link should take you there!

And I'm not sure about the editorial part. Still a little noodgie that she wasn't picky enough to whip that manuscript into shape. We'll see when the review comes in.

Bill Clark said...

I don't even have a Mac for the rain (and that's in England.) Is this where I've been going wrong?

Leigh, you crack me up, as usual. Do you at least have Wellies?

Seriously, I hear Douglas Adams calling to you (and everyone else) from the Great Beyond, "Get a Mac. Now. Get. A. Mac."

Did you know that Adams used to do TV commercials for Apple because he loved Macs so much?

Leigh Russell said...

I would like to tell everyone that
I have returned to life (this is not a horror film - although there were times when it felt like one!)

I think I've finished my book again! I've been leading a double life for two weeks, teaching during the day, then sitting down at 6 p.m. to write until 1 or 2 a.m.

For those of you who want to know how I feel... if you ever read my book, check out how my DI feels when she's solved her case...

The MS goes back to the publisher on Monday and then to the editor the following week...

I've learned so much. Writing a book is actually a lot easier than I realised. In my first draft I tried to pack in far too much, I was so worried about being boring. Now that it's been simplified, the whole narrative moves along much better. I think it's going to be MUCH easier next time... but perhaps I shouldn't ever say this is easy again!

Leigh Russell said...

KARA I found your website - thank you. But there was no blog link... The gremlins are at work again.
Please keep in touch as I can't contact you - (even though you don't include me in your list of 'writing buddies'....)

Julie said...

Leigh

Guess what you learn by your own experience you don't easily forget.

Glad you've got through the worst of it (hopefully!)and enjoyed it.

Kara Dunn said...

LOL! Just let me know what your website addie is and it's a done deal!

Blog link is on left hand side of front page. Oh, just try this: http://www.karadunn.com/romanceblog. That's the actual address. (And you'll find a link to this blog over there! *g*)

Sleepy said...

In the words of the great Mr Grace....
'You're doing very well!'

Jennifer Linforth said...

We all tear our hair out with edits. I am deep in the middle of mine right now. It does feel good to have a publisher who regards your works so highly that they want to make it a top seller.

Edits take time on their end to. They would not invest such time if they did not think you could write and bring them a fan base.

Jennifer