The best and worst of times

There is, of course, much going on in the world at present. All my London-based friends and acquaintances have checked in, so it only remains to extend sympathy to the relatives and friends of those who died and, equally, to extend contempt to the bombers. We can take heart in their incompetence; so many bombs and so few deaths, speaking in terms of what might have been. Ken MacLeod has an interesting post on the matter. (The blogosphere has been my first port of call for information about the event; the BBCi servers were often unreachable, understandably, but there’s something about connecting directly to those blogging about the tragedy that makes the world seem a little smaller.)

Meanwhile – and this seems crashingly trivial in the shadow of such atrocity – freelance editor Rachel Hazelwood has returned a 12-page report on my latest novel, Proper Job. Rachel has been prompt, professional, intelligent and clear in her criticisms, which were invariably constructive. I can recommend her for anyone wishing to polish their manuscript before submitting it to a publisher or an agent. In my experience, publishers and agents do not see the potential in a work unless such potential in realised under their noses as they read.

I can breathe a sigh of relief because the report is generally positive, and Rachel thinks that the book is already quite good, which I find very encouraging because it’s a first draft and I can’t read even a page of it without wincing at missed opportunity, jokes in need of repair, and clumsy phrases. Still, the process of writing is 10% first draft and 90% buggering about with it.

Time to get buggering about.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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