Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The stages of editing.

I thought it would be simplest to show you the very beginning of Lamplighter. I will make some comment on each version but will let them speak for themselves - my hope is that when you click on an image it will show it at a better, more readable size.

Please, ask any questions you like.

As you can see my initial beginning was markedly different from what we now have in the book. My first thought was to start the very next day from where Foundling left off. I am glad that I did not. The where to begin a story is one of the big challenges in writing. Apart from this, other problems clear to me (now, at least) are a/ that Grindrod is unrealistically harsh & b/ the excessive use of capitals for his voice.


Next is the proper beginning to the story; it is bloated and clumsy - but that is the nature of my first drafts for you... The comments on it are made by the fair hand of my publisher, Dyan Blacklock.


The change from first to second draft is hard work but seeing the better, tighter story emerge from all the pain is a genuine joy. The scribble in green is my own hand as I continue to improve the text - all those little details and tweaks that feel make the tale a whole lot better.

This final stage is what are called pages. It is the properly typeset book printed out on ordinary A4 paper for me to go over for any final and usually small corrections. I, however, made some significant changes - as you can see by the highlighted text, which, if memory serves, was shifted and cut. If you get out your copies you shall see what I mean. This is not normal at this stage, of course, but most was agreed to by my editor (the purple penciled Celia Jellet), for it indeed made the whole work again that much better. (I paid for the re-typesetting, btw - 'tis only fair...)

There you have it! Just like that. This book writing thing is easy!

Also Gareth of Falcata Times asked me to point you all to their review of Lamplighter, which fits well with this post, the final end for this whole process: people reading it and even reviewing it. Thank you, Gareth!

For breakfast today I had porridge with sultanas and a cup of Irish Breakfast tea.

15 comments:

Aidan said...

These are fantastic... is there any chance of you releasing an un-edited version of Foundling/Lamplighter?

The works already done after all and it would give us something to read while we wait for Factotum =P

-A

Headtrip Honey said...

This heartens me, as I know my writing in its first stages can be bloated and overly adjective laden. So to know that I am not the only writer out there with this problem.....gives me hope. Heh.

tanita davis said...

Oh, my word, what a lot of slogging... building a world out of your head, and having someone write in the margins, "This doesn't make sense." Aaaaargh!

Thank you for continuing, despite what must have been a strong urge to shriek and fling keyboards.

Klesita said...

WOW!

E N Reinmuth said...

...Hey... I'm actually not freaked out about writing anymore...

Inspi: The short exclamation [for "Inspired"] made when reading Mr. Cornish's post.... "Inspiii"

me said...

This writing lark sure does seem to have it's trials, ups & downs, and what-not.

Thanks or the insight into the less romatic aspects of writing.

Sam Hranac said...

Thanks for posting that. Very interesting.

Nositi: A cartoon nose that tries to do amazing disappearing booger tricks, but only manages to get tangled up in his own nostril hair.

Scribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

The first pages made want to read more of it....

I very rarly have porridge for breakfast, mostly tea (today Earl Grey) and a "macka" as we say here, preferable with jam (orange or strawberry).

Headtrip Honey said...

A couple questions that have been niggling me, Mr. Cornish:

You stated somewhere that you imagined Europe to be about 29. In Lamplighter, we learn that she and Lady Vey were at school together (the calendar-training one). And we also know that Threnody is around 13/14. So how old is Lady Vey, and how old was she when she had Threnody? Because their being schoolmates would suggest she is close in age to Europe (although I suppose it doesn't HAVE to be so), and 29 would be awfully young to have an almost 14 year old daughter. Just a thought! I'm sure I am overthinking this.

My second question is much simpler: How does one pronounce Threnody's name?

Thanks very much, sir.


wv: paridden - a rare type of flower that is only found in the Ichormeer, used to calm excited nerves and overzealous emotions.

Anonymous said...

sick book series. i was wondering though. i have seen in many of your postings and others that you have note book composed entirely of the half continent and its world of wonders and information. after the third book are you planning on releasing or publishing your notes for readers????? i really think it would answer at least a few questions for readers and even present interesting information if anything. im pretty sure most fans would agree with me that you should release or publishyour notes on the half continet. maybe im pushing a bit of tolkiens ideas on you...like it wouldnt hurt to write book that is practiccally the Silmerianiam of the half continet. ask other fans. if they dont want it, haha ill work out a way some how for me to get my hands on it.. just an idea that occured to me just now. =) mull it over

portals said...

Thanks very much. Great work.

noelle said...

This is a little random but: does anyone know anything about flintlock pistols/other types of old-fashioned firearms?

Ben Bryddia said...

Happy bookday, Zakk!

These drafts are considerably cleaner than my self-edited writing. Yes, I can see why you made the choice to start Lamplighter considerably later than was originally intended. Hang in there.

mierel: An important, but reclusive person, usually a man, who only appears at parties for social conventions, but prefers to sneak away from the crowd whenever possible. A term only used during whispered gossip, mierel is a decidedly negative adjective--an insult to the object's manners.

portals said...

Noelle - They're very cool!