Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Help! I feel micro-managed...

Another day, another set of revisions from the lovely people at penguin (shh, don't tell but I had to type lovely through gritted teeth there.) They are small notes and, as ever, make sense, but this is the first book I have ever had to do such revisions on and I am starting to feel a bit, well, rubbish.

With How to be Famous and again with Ruby Valentine my publisher accepted my first manuscript, no rewrites (rewrites that they were involved in, I rewrote it myself with input from agent and loved ones natch) and now I find myself getting these very complimentary emails which say absurdly flattering things but at their heart are saying - no, not quite, not yet, try harder. Perhaps, thus far, I have not tried sufficiently hard. That is certainly an accusation that could be leveled at a writer who is also trying hard to be a good mother and, um, read the entire world wide web. But with every (perfectly reasonable) suggestion I die a little inside because I feel like I should have got it right first time. Or second. Or third, I mean for crying out loud.

The input is undoubtedly helping Studs be a better story, helping me to be a better writer, so what's my problem? I don't like to be any trouble. And with this book, this glorious almost finished thank g_d book, I feel like I have been a great deal of trouble indeed. What with The Fluffed One and the flit around the world (twice) and the unmarried pregnancy I have been one seriously high-maintenance employee. That the lovely freelance penguin ed has had to read and re-read my MS three times now and construct her coercing emails with thought and insight makes me feel guilty.

Then my agent suggested that perhaps freelance ed is billing Penguin by the hour. Unlikely though I know this is, I choose to believe it. Because it's a preferable alternative to feeling high-maintenance, guilty or - heaven forbid - rubbish.

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