My name is Dal Maclean, and I’m about to lose my publishing virginity. Hold me.
It's not that I haven't written before -- I've done a fair bit as a journalist, and even dabbled in fan-fic. But the experience of writing a full work of original fiction for a publishing house has been... well it's been a shocker. The sheer amount of work that goes in to it for a start.
Scribbling down the story… that’s like packing your case and getting in the taxi at the beginning of your trip. You sit back, confident that the hard part is over, and it's cocktails and sun loungers from then on. But, as I lie here on my stretcher, surrounded by concerned citizens, and attached to a gin drip, I can testify that taxi to professional publication is driving you toward a world of hard slog.
Revisions, more revisions, plot changes, even more revisions, copy edits (whimper), line edits, deadlines, promotion… I hadn’t a clue. So it’s just as well that I had a ruthlessly charming spirit guide in Nicole Kimberling of Blind Eye Books, who is, objectively speaking, the best editor in the world (sorry I don’t make the rules).
While being chivvied, wide-eyed, through the process of raw manuscript to publishable book, I’ve had a crash course in writing for genre, the state of the industry, identifying my own not-so-little writing peccadillos, and how a professional publishing house brings home a book.
I’ve had to try to analyse why I did what I’d hitherto done instinctively; the way I write, what I like to write about. And of course, what people seem to want to read. Maybe we can get round to discussing some of that on this blog in fact.
Having been through it this once though, I can only express my awed admiration for writers who give birth to books regularly and with apparent nonchalance, like popping out peas from a pod . Maybe one day I can reach that level. But right now, I’ll just lie here with my gin drip …
'Bitter Legacy'. Out on October 2nd 2016.