I have just added a second quote to my right-hand column. It comes from an interview in yesterday's Guardian with the author Emma Donoghue. It encapsulates how I feel about writing. It's the first time I've come a cross a successful author speaking so plainly. Certainly, none of my tutors have been as bold as to say, in effect, 'Just write, you can make sense of it later'. My problem is that I don't pay enough attention to the after bit.
Perhaps, having come to fiction writing late, my head is full of a lifetime of ideas, all competing to escape, so I write them down and, the ones I like, I share on SeniorFiction. Most have been read and re-read half-a-dozen times before I have the courage to share them, even then I continue to edit the stories online. I tell myself that what all successful authors have is an editor. I know I need an editor buddy to do, in the words of Emma Donoghue, 'The polishing'.
Over the years I have read enough articles, listened to and watched successful authors talk about how they write, a few of whom are honest enough to go as far as to say what they have with their editors is 'a relationship'. Ian Rankin is one of them. He also says that such relationships are not always successful. In one of his interviews I remember him describing an editor he worked as 'a real plot doctor'. The book was called Westward and published in 1990. It was, to quote Rankin, 'a mess'…
…which brings me neatly back to Emma Donoghue.
Perhaps the moral of this story is the age old one of 'be careful of what you wish for', but if anyone out there wants to edit one of my stories and sell it, providing we share the money fifty-fifty I'll be happy. I'll also agree to the editor having his/her name alongside mine.