Sunday, April 14, 2013

Helping out friends.

This week seems to have been mostly taken up with a combination of toothache and helping out some friends. The helping was definitely more enjoyable than the toothache!

I am naturally a creative person - I can see who things fit together to make a whole picture, and how to change tiny details to make the whole more cohesive. It makes me a good editor. One of my main projects this week was typing up a load of notes I made on a book a friend wrote. I love doing this. Partly because I passionately hate paying to read bad writing and anything I can do to prevent that happening seems like a good use of my time. But also because I love to be able to ask "why?" to point out the inconsistencies and question the characters motivations and the actually get my questions answered!

I've done this type of editing a few times for friends, mostly of whole books, but once also of an extended short story that was going to be an examination essay - the friend needed it to get him on to a masters in creative writing. I don't think he would have made the cut with his first effort, but the re-write he did with my notes won him a place. It makes me feel extremely good inside to have really helped someone. An added bonus was sometime later when I was suffering with a troublesome word count he knocked 300 hundred off my count without damaging my story, and I passed my course too.

Now however is the uncomfortable time where I wait and see if the person I made notes for still likes me. A book you have written is a very personal thing - someone giving you a list of 160 odd things that are wrong with it can easily feel like a personal attack. If you have the right mind set it can be wonderfully helpful, if not it can make you feel utterly defeated. Especially if you thought you were near enough finished and ready to send it of to publishers.

At the end of the day the authors opinion is the one that really counts. Not only that but also their sense of perspective. When I wrote my book a few very honest friends gave me some excellent advise and some very mixed reviews. Some of it was demoralising. But I got to the point where I was happy. I read what I had written and I decided that it was a pretty good story, but it was not good enough for a mainstream publisher. It wasn't worth a £5 price tag. However I think it is easily worth the 77p it is on sale for on kindle. Apparently other people think so too, because every so often I sell a copy and that is a very nice feeling!

The second "helping out" was drawing a logo. An unbelievable inspirational friend is a missionary in Somalia. She does things like sending huge cargo ships with a million meals over there. She also brings bubbles with her. The kids don't know how to play and the parents don't know how to play with them - she wants to help them learn. She has just set up a charity called "Happy Hearts" this is what I came up with for her

I'm not sure it's going to work as a logo, but it is a good starting point.
Next on my list reading and making notes on, a patomime a friend has written. Then making profiteroles for our neighbour. He bought a profiterole paket mix, but doesn't actually own an oven, or a mixer. I think he knew I'd help him out! 


  1. I'm looking forward to reading your book.

    1. I hope you like it! It is aimed at kids in the first few years of secondry school, so it may be a little young for you.