I love books, but the publishing industry itself frustrates, depresses and infuriates me much of the time. This is a reblog from Niff Soup, home of Matlock the Hare. Matlock the Hare is a fantastic series (3rd one out this autumn). It is everything I want books to be, whereas much of what I find in bookshops, isn’t what I want to read. So, do hop over to the blogpost (I know, I know, but you’re going to forgive me because I’m a bit sleep deprived…)
“What readers need,” a portly editor from a major publishing company told me many years ago as he confidently struck a pen through great swathes of my manuscript, “is peril. Plenty of peril. A lot less of all this ‘character and emotion’ nonsense. Ideally, it’s a woman in peril. All the drama you need in just those three words – woman in peril. Saves readers having to believe in a character, see?”
The truth was, I didn’t ‘see’.
“How about,” he suggested, scribbling over the first line of the manuscript, “we start it with – ‘She woke up to a knife at her throat’?”
“I don’t think so,” I said, gathering the remains of my work before asking, “Do you think Gulliver’s Travels would have been published today?”
He blinked back, confused. “The bloke who gets tied up on a beach by some dwarves? No chance. Where’s the peril in…
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