Kisses .. is as far as my characters get on the page! Editing observations… helped out by Stephen King

Good morning my lovelies – I’m drinking tea brought to me by Man of the Woods. He’s gone out to check slug activity on the young crops and I’m watching the clock hands do that thing where they look sedentary but they’re not. Imagine going round and round in circles and never seeing any other platform.

“Oh, hello 10 it’s you again. What have you been up to for the last twelve hours?”

Self editing can start to feel like that so I was delighted when a Curtis Brown Creative email dropped in to tell me one of their courses was about to start.

I’ve already done the first two of their set of three, so having got to the end of my manuscript a few weeks ago, it seemed churlish not to do the final one – EDIT & PITCH YOUR NOVEL.

Yes I purchased the genius book called Save The Cat (STC which I now can’t help using to analyse every damn film I watch) but the necessary evil task of actually reaching in to the chest freezer of my novel and hauling out really heavy scenes which grip in their frozen determination was proving impossibly painful.

The first tutorial video last week was a blessing when Anna – one of the top tutors on the course, and a published author herself – reminded us how far we’d come. We’d arrived at the end of our first draft; a goal which for many is never attained.

We were encouraged to think about what type of novel we wanted to write. (This is the bit where I get in a muddle as we already know I’ve been told it crosses genres. I’m still going to whisper at this point that I want it to… and this is why I’ve been more seriously considering Indie Publishing).

There is romance, but no sex. This is as warm as this one gets…

(And the book’s not called TRAIN by the way..!)

Anyway, for now, let’s keep walking down the Prepare for agent submission path. This week Anna wants us to print the beast out and re-read it again; while pausing to analyse every scene, marking on a chart (made in Word) whether it works, drives the story on, has more than one story ‘point’… she calls this the diagnosis of the pain, which is rather relevant don’t you think?!

The rape is in flower .. it’s pretty though lots of people suffer with hay fever 🤒

(Nice pic, but totally irrelevant to the blog. So that would go if I was editing this post like my novel!)

This one is totally relevant though. To the title of this post! I’ve not read the book, which he wrote in 1983, but I watched with gripped fascination more than fear at the genius clue-dropping as to what the two MC characters’ worst fears in life are… delivered carefully to the viewer should they choose to ‘see’ them.

The mirror image of opening and closing scenes – which STC says we should see in 99% of films – was not only there, but cleverly illustrated the journey arc of the characters. The only constant was the Volvo. The horrendous premise of the final frame leaves the viewer facing their own primal fear … I won’t say what it is in case you haven’t seen it … suffice to conclude that as a human experience it GETS you.

My friend, who is not studying writing and does not read novels actually left the cinema saying ‘that was crap’ (she likes SAW and HOUSE OF WAX type horrors). I totally disagreed, in our good-friendship humour way that we can!

She’s also not a parent…..


All of the Curtis Brown Creative writing courses can be found here.

I recommend printout out the coursework and sticking it into a journal like I’ve done here… you’ve got it then for every book you write!

Have a great week whatever you’re up to xxx