“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, July 25, 2008

“Deer Dairy …”

As some of you already know, the time has come to address the proof-edits / corrections on the sequel to THE BIG O (said tome pictured right, behind the buffoon singing I’ve Never Been To Me), which will be called CRIME ALWAYS PAYS. It’s a delicate business, in that by the time I come to make the final edits I’ve already read the entire story through about 10 times, and probably more. Plus there’s the whole issue of moral outrage to be overcome, which generally runs along the lines of, “The fuck’re you talking about, it was perfect when I gave it to you!”
  Yesterday was the first day of said edits, given that the occasionally cruel Mrs Viz has taken the Princess Lilyput away for a few days’ well-earned rest, and for reasons best known to my super-ego I’ve decided to keep a diary of how the editing process is going. To wit:
Day 1: Thursday, July 24
6am: Scheduled rise at 6am actually happens at 7.30am, the 90-minute difference being the time it took to roll the weight of reading through that bloody story again off my chest and kick-starting the respiratory process all over again.
7.30am: Sip coffee, smoke cigarettes. Answer some emails. Post review of THE LEMUR to the blog. More cigarettes and coffee. More emails.
9am: Head into town to attend a preview screening of the new X-Files movie. First hour is interesting, the last half-hour sucks.
12.30pm: Have coffee with script-writing brother, who also reviews movies. Chat idly about how hard it is to find the time to do any real writing these days.
2pm: Meet up with Neville Thompson. A good guy. Chat wanders around to how hard it is to find the time to do any real writing these days.
4pm: Do a bit of actual work, aka reviewing some movies for radio station.
4:15pm: Leave radio station and head for home.
5:30pm: Home. Absence of holidaying wife and child depressing. Coffee. Cigarettes. Emails. Write blog post on Colin Bateman being terrorised by albinos and the politically correct brigade.
6:30pm: Read a goodly chunk of John McFetridge’s GO ROUND. Get utterly depressed when comparing it to the toxic chaos of CRIME ALWAYS PAYS.
8pm: Watch BBC documentary on travel writer Eric Newby. Inane presenter insists on getting in the way of Hindu Kush scenery.
9pm: Head for the desk all fired up to start proofing edits.
9:05pm: Have a quick trawl through the various crime fiction blogs and websites. Coffee. Cigarettes.
10:55pm: Play a few games of Hearts.
11:15pm: Watch back-to-back episodes of Family Guy. Firmly resolve to start proofing edits the following morning at 6am.
11:50: Head for bed. Absence of wife and child depressing.

Day 2: Friday, July 25
6am: Actually rise on time. Get to desk. Coffee. Cigarettes. Emails.
6:20am: Write blog post on the Mystery Readers’ Journal ‘Irish Mysteries’ special issue.
7:45am: Have bright idea about keeping a proof-edits diary.
8:59am: Head for town for preview movie screening, trying to work out which is the more depressing – the absence of wife and child, how good a writer John McFetridge is, or the utter disinterest in revisiting CRIME ALWAYS PAYS.
3:01pm: Get back to the desk and conclude it’s a perfect storm of all three.
3:02pm: To be continued …

6 comments:

Pepper Smith said...

LOL! When you've already read your own stuff ten times, it's hard to get motivated to do it again. And again. And again...

And gee, it is hard to find time to do any real writing these days, isn't it?

bookwitch said...

My dear boy, didn't you keep the list of things that needed editing that I sent you?

It's a very short list, and mainly typos, as you said. The rest is perfect as it is. Just think how much work I've just saved you. And as I only read the book once, I came to it fresh, and could see it for what it was. (A book.)

Now, don't smoke another cigarette. Have some coffee. Make corrections as per my list. Send the thing in, and relax.

Done.

John McFetridge said...

I'm going to use a baseball analogy because I know you Europeans love that.

Dick Williams who managed my dearly departed Montreal Expos when I was a kid said that a genius manager could win maybe 5 to 10 games a year (baseball here, that's out of 162) by making the perfect strategic move during the game, but he could lose 30 to 40 by meddling too much.

Fix the typos.

bookwitch said...

Listen to John!

Declan Burke said...

Cheers, folks. Finally got stuck in later today, so a start has been made. Ms Witch? I lost your list. I'm a moron. If you still have it, please send it on. Cheers, Dec

bookwitch said...

In your inbox. And it's shorter than I remembered.