Often, I receive lovely emails from clients thanking me for helping them craft their stories. I can count on two fingers, no offence intended, those that have been less appreciative of my efforts – not everyone takes to criticism kindly, however constructive. I’ve written about this before and the bottom line: editors are writers too. We know what criticism feels like. We don’t flag up errors to be tricky or destructive. We do it because we want to make a novel the best it can be, to give a story its greatest chance of survival in a hugely competitive market.
As everything is winding down for the summer – MP’s due to escape Parliament when it goes into recess in less than a month, the rest of us either preparing to negotiate school holidays or counting the hours until that well-earned break, World Cup almost over, Wimbledon crushingly done and dusted for some, it seemed timely to wheel out a kind of end of year report. It’s dedicated to all those lovely writers who, through Writers’ Workshop, I’ve played some small part in helping on their way to gaining agent representation or publishing deal. And this is not to forget those writers who go it alone and self-publish. I’ve worked on the full manuscript of most mentioned, or looked at the first 30,00 words or so to give the writer a ‘steer’. Marcus Cameron was one of these and he was kind enough to write: ‘… those initial directions were critical – both for my growth as a writer and my confidence.’
In a way the following list is my thank you to them. If I’ve missed anyone, contact me and put me straight so that I can include you in another blog.
My ‘ones to watch’ are as follows, and in alphabetical order:
David Beckler: ‘Brotherhood’ published by GWL.
Marcus Cameron: ‘Thread of Fate’ to be published in October 2014.
Paul E Hardisty: ‘The Abrupt Physics of Dying’ published by Arcadia Books early 2015.
Paddy Magrane: ‘Disorder’.
Luca Pesaro: ‘Zero Alternative’ published by ‘Three Hares’.
Pauline Rendall: ‘Hangman’s Wood’ and, following short story competition success, agent representation with Watson, Little.
Mike Woodhams: ‘Paths of Courage’.
I must also make special mention of J J Durham and her novel ‘A Killing Kindness.’ I was sent a snapshot of this in preparation for a one to one meeting at the Writers’ Workshop York Festival last year, and absolutely loved it.
So, if you are stuck for a novel to read this summer, check out those mentioned. From dodgy goings on in the corridors of power, to corruption in financial markets, and espionage on the high seas, good old-fashioned gangland and detective tales, stories with themes of greed and redemption, sexual perversion and super viruses, and not forgetting 1850’s London in which the lead detective teams up with none other than Charles Dickens, there is plenty of variety from which to choose. Go on. Pick a novel. You know you want to.