Jane and the kids have been in Wales for the week to see Jane’s family, so I’ve used the peace and quiet to blitz through the copy edit for The Oracles of Troy. Ever since the first edit of King of Ithaca, when my publishers asked me to cut it down from 180,000 to 120,000 words, I’ve always been a bit nervous about receiving an editor’s notes. It’s also difficult not to take it to heart when someone applies a red pen (in effect) to the manuscript and starts slashing through your carefully written work like Freddy Kruger on speed.
Experience has taught me not to take it personally – after all, the editor’s job is to improve what you’ve written, not to shoot you down – but when I received the notes from Richard Sheehan for The Oracles of Troy I couldn’t help but feel a sickening twist in the pit of my stomach. Thankfully, there wasn’t much to worry about and after two full days I’ve now completed it. It’s natural that edits are always going to get easier as you get more experienced, I suppose, but I still get that Pavlov’s dog reaction whenever I receive an editor’s comments. Just an Author’s Note to add now (I always struggle with these because it’s so difficult, when you’ve only got a page or two, deciding which myths, characters and scenes to comment on and which to leave out), followed by the conversion to e-book/Kindle format and then the final proof-reading.
Reflecting back on that first edit, the original version of King of Ithaca included a prologue in which an older Eperitus reflects on the adventures he shared with Odysseus. The prologue was left on the cutting room floor, but I may dust it off and offer it as a free download on the website at some point in the next few weeks. One other thought on edits. Despite my instinctive fear of them, there is one thing I really look forward to: learning from the experience and knowledge of copy editors as they (gently) point out the errors in my use of English. I always come away feeling I know a little bit more about how to do my job, and the edit of The Oracles of Troy was no exception. I now have a clearer understanding of what a dangling participle is. Excellent!