The Big Kindle Edit

I’ve started editing Transference on my Kindle which is a whole new experience.  For the first time in twenty years, I’m not editing in front of a computer at a desk.  I’m sitting in my big squashy armchair, a horrible thing that someone chucked out and I accepted gratefully because I had no furniture and was watching TV sitting on a blanket on the floor.  The armchair is next to the lounge window, close enough to the sill for me to put my cup of tea there and there are chocolate stains on the loose cover (an old Japanese bedspread, cream with white patterns and a big black dot in the middle….am I doing too much detail here to avoid the issue?!)


I’ve found several grammatical errors, or just those type of errors that go “this can be put better.”  Only one typo so far:  I hate it when the typos are not words that are spelt wrong but are correctly spelt, just the wrong word, such as “thought” instead of “though.”

Far, far worse than any of this is the discovery that the prologue and the first half of chapter 2 are lumpy, badly written, overwritten, so “meaningful” that it’s senseless and has all the life edited out of it so anything more I do to these pages will just kill them further.

Except I have to do something.  It just so happens that these are the introductory pages to my main character, a character that only really begins to take shape in about chapter 5, which is possibly about right since this novel flits across many characters, with the main character holding it together strongly at the core.  But I can’t have those introductory pages weak and, frankly, crap.  A whole rewrite is needed.


I am sick to DEATH of this novel.  I have worked on it and worked on it and killed off all life in it (or so it feels.)  It was a very long short story, then a screenplay, and then this novel that NEVER SEEMS TO END.  I feel as if I’ve been working on it forever, which isn’t true.  It’s just that I’m starting to hate it and hate myself for not being able to get it right, for being self-conscious and aware that this, at last, is going to be my first novel published.  As for publishing, I want to publish just so I can get rid of it.  I want it to be over.  I want it to be out there where every fuckup is beyond my reach, written in stone, cast in unyielding steel for all time.


Grimly I will continue.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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4 Responses to The Big Kindle Edit

  1. procrastin8or says:

    I understand your frustration but perhaps… just perhaps, it is time to put it down for a year and come back to it with a fresh mind after working on other projects.

    If you think that is the worst idea ever then feel free to throw a virtual shoe in my direction. Just warn me to duck first 🙂

    • Actually, that’s not a bad idea….! (Putting it down for a while, I mean, not chucking the virtual shoe!!)

    • It transpires that your advice was spot-on – not only do I not want to rush Transference, but it isn’t right as my first novel. I would rather go through the agonies of a first novel published with one that is less personal (and needs a lot less editing.) A belated thanks for your comment: it gave me something to think about and my plans have changed for the better!

      • mgm75 says:

        Hey, no problem. It’s something I try regularly and it seems to work so I thought I’d offer the voice of experience.

        Please don’t be confused by the change of name and blog address though, it is still me!

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