And the one that landed today is A Croc Called Capone
by the always entertaining Barry Jonsberg.
Barry made a big splash in the YA world with his very first book (known in the House simply as Kiffo). Since then he's been busy, writing three more terrific YA novels, a great Girlfriend Fiction and the fast and funny The Dog that Dumped on My Doona for younger readers. So in celebration of The Croc, we have a guest post from Barry. Take it away Barry:
A keen sense of audience is important for a writer.
So I would like to say at the outset that book editors are, in my opinion, the most talented, charming, brilliant, gifted, diplomatic and wonderful people I have ever known.
This self-evident truth was brought to my attention immediately after my first book, The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull, was accepted for publication by Allen & Unwin. Given that I live and work in Darwin [“somewhere up there”], personal meetings were impossible, so the whole editing process was conducted primarily by email. I was thrilled to be informed, in the first email contact, that my manuscript was ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, ‘immaculately written’ and ‘the greatest work of fiction in the English language’ [okay, I’ve lost that email, but it was words to that effect]. My ego inflated to the size of Uluru, I read on to the second paragraph which hinted there were just one or two, very minor, hardly-worth-bothering-about, teensy-weeny, minuscule areas where the manuscript could be marginally improved. As it turned out, these areas were:
- the beginning
- the middle
- the end
and involved eighteen months of re-writing.
Some writers have a reputation for being unreceptive to criticism [“Take out the word ‘the’?. I chose that word after months of agonising over alternatives. Remove it and you might as well rip my heart out.”], so this diplomacy is both practical and generous.
I just think it’s fantastic.
If I’m feeling bad about myself, I only read the first paragraph. If I want to get something done, I go straight to the second.
Words and editors, editors and words. I love ’em both.