Friday, 18 May 2012

Clear Editorial: A Rambling Review Thing

Quite a lot of the time writing feels like standing in a pitch black room with an elephant while shouting, 'Crumpets!'; pointless, dangerous and you've no idea if you have or ever will achieve something worthwhile.

Good feedback is the stuff of dreams. But getting feedback from people that really know something can be tough (that'll upset the crit group, bwa-hahahahaha!). The occasional agent might send back something helpful like, "The eighth line of the first paragraph wasn't all bad" but generally they're too busy helping out the people that are good enough to earn them some money.

So that leaves editing services and things like that. There's Cornerstones and some others that I can't be bothered to look up right now as I'm on lunch and really want to read Nick Cross's impending blog post. There's also lots of independent editors out there offering to take a look.

All these cost money. Usually quite a lot of money (in relation to the amount of money that doesn't sit in my bank account). Also what if the editor you get really, really hates the type of book you've written? On a purely subjective level I mean. I'm sure they try to avoid this happening but the idea of it still gives me the fear.

But a few weeks a go the cackling crones of SCBWI who spend their time emailing one another and occasionally turning an unfortunate illustrator into a toad posted a link to a new service  Clear Editorial set up by Tim Deakin, who worked for Egmont before going freelance and also holds the land speed record for riding a penguin (only one of those two things is a lie).

Tim offers a top line report where you send him about 5 pages and a plot outline and he'll give you some lovely feed back. Then you can decide if you want a fuller analysis, if you like Tim or just pack it all in and try a bit harder at your proper job. And this top line report costs £39.99




As for the actual service, Tim provided the feedback by the agreed time, gave a  couple of pages overview covering plot, style and narrative in which he said nice things, highlighted what needed work (I think he could tell I didn't have a plot when I started writing it and still didn't have one by the time I finished). He also returned the extract I sent with sort of line edit-y things on it.

In summary it was marvellous, like someone flicked the light on in that pitch black room, showed me the elephant was just a fluffy kitten and gave me a laptop to do some actual writing on.

And you know, £39.99!!

So check it out if you are thinking you need some guidance or feedback (and join a crit group as they are good).