Thursday 23 July 2009

Editing, editing, editing

I continue to edit Babel. At the moment I’m checking for character. Are the characters consistent? Do they grow? Are they rounded. When I use dialogue, does it sound like their voice?
I really do find it useful to check for one thing at a time, though I’ll often notice other things apart from what I’m actually looking for in a particular edit. So, writing always become rewriting.
There is the danger, I suppose, that after a while you become jaded and cannot see the major faults. In any case, though, you edit from big picture to smaller detail. You get rid of the real problems first and then come down to spellings, punctuation and syntax.
Yesterday, I also looked at final proofs of The Prophecy which comes out in September. I agreed with the copy-editor on all but one change. We were using Track Changes. I then accidentally “accepted all”. Fortunately, I’d got two copies. However, I was then not able to find the change I did not want to accept. I guess I just have to trust my copy editor.

Monday 13 July 2009

The Roman Mysteries

I had the great privilege of meeting Caroline Lawrence at a conference at Lampeter last week. Embarrassingly, I had offered to present a paper about her work – before I knew she was to be the keynote speaker. We did have a little correspondence beforehand. I was greatly relieved to hear her say in her talk that she was influenced by Nancy Drew. I did compare her work to Nancy Drew’s. Of course, she also mentioned the toilet sponge, as I did, and that statement she put on her blog about the archaeologists being perhaps 90% right.
The main points I made were that:
- her stories show a lot of everyday Roman reality and historical fact
- she makes huge concessions to the 21st Century, making the stories and the setting palatable to the modern reader
- the books are first and foremost books for children and have the characteristics of that beast
- she objectifies modern society by inviting us to compare it with Roman times
- I think we both left the conference quite happy. In her talk, she also spoke about story arcs and gave a fantastic Power Point on the Vogler theory. I must put together a decent Power Point myself.