As my regulars know my view has always been that writers should go quietly about their business and not seek the opinion of every Tom, Dick and writers’ workshop. No-one sees my stuff until I deliver first draft to my editor and my agent. My husband gets to read final draft, if he asks nicely. So, anyway, I’m now at first edit stage. My agent and my editor have sent me their notes which, comfortingly and amazingly are almost perfectly congruent, and now I have to see what I can do with their suggestions. Blue pencil time.
It’s quite rare for me to jib at anything my editor suggests. But this time there’s something that’s keeping me awake nights. Let me run it by you. At least, let me pose a hypothetical case because I don’t want to give away my story eight months before it’s published.
Imagine you are reading a novel that features a major historical event. Let’s say…. the French Revolution. We all know what happened. There’s no changing the facts. All you can do is tell it from a new perspective. What, for instance, if the story is being told by someone who is, at the time of telling, oblivious to the fate of Louis and Marie-Antoinette? The narrator could be in the deepest dungeon of the Conciergerie. Bear with me here. It could be someone who sincerely believes the revolution will be humane. It could be someone who believes the Royal family have been spirited away to exile. For you, the reader, which is more powerful – to know something the narrator doesn’t know? Or to turn a few pages and find the narrator just caught up with the facts? News just in….
That’s my jibbing point. I thought I’d created a poignant moment of blissful ignorance. My editor feels we should, a bit later, deliver the full meal, like one of those TV dinners that has everything on the tray. Turkey, cranberry, apple pie, execution scene, gravy.
Your opinions on a postcard please. Well actually an email would do nicely.