Saturday, 15 January 2011


I have been going through Helen Szirtes' notes on Mister Creecher. These are more detailed points following on from the changes I made in response to much broader queries about the book.

We are doing this part of the edit using 'track changes' in Word. All Helen's changes are highlighted and there are comments and questions in the margin. There weren't that many, but at this stage they always tend to be difficult to resolve.

One of the things that has come up in this book is the fact that I had the main character saying 'Jesus!' when shocked or surprised or angered. I had a directive to remove these or find a replacement.

Editing is like any form of negotiations - there is no point wasting time and effort and goodwill fighting fights you know you are bound to lose. This was one of those - although I did find it infuriating. Not just because I don't accept that it a character in a book cannot say things that the author or the reader might find offensive, but more that I find it impossible to replace it with anything that was not more offensive.

That aside, it was good to read through Mister Creecher again. I don't often get giddy about a book. Quite the reverse - I usually feel more and more depressed about it, until when it is finally published I have convinced myself that it must be absolute garbage and that I have wasted my life and brought shame to my family. But I'm quite excited about Mister Creecher.

Although there is plenty of time between now and its publication in June, for me to get depressed.

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