Tuesday, July 19, 2016
So, Mr Poole, we’re all really excited here about your novel. It’s going to be huge – absolutely huge. It just… well, it just speaks to that kind of nameless angst we all have, you know? Draws you in from the very first page. Brilliant.
Anyway, hope you won’t take this amiss, but it’s my job to make a few suggestions about style, here and there? Just – you know – in a first novel it’s often hard to judge just what the reader will find in something you wrote.
I mean, I have very little to suggest on this one, obviously. I don’t want to interfere with your distinctive voice. But there were a few passages where I felt you could convey your meaning a bit, well, a bit more succinctly…
Like what? Oh, well… erm… when Peter first sees Julie, at the concert. I mean, it’s brilliant, obviously, that scene. It’s like you’ve taken a photograph of Julie as he sees her and you’re just playing it into the reader’s mind a few lines at a time from the very top… her hair, her necklace, her top, her skirt… and then her shoes. Yeah.
Actually it’s the shoes. I just thought… you know, you’ve done from the top of her head to her ankles in about a page, so then three pages just on the shoes… It just seems…
Yeah! A bit much! Exactly. Just a little too long! And then again, on their third date, when she comes back to his apartment. When she takes off her shoes, the way you've written it, it’s erm… the reader’s attention might wander a bit after the first page or so, that’s all.
Oh – yes, and much later on, during the Raquel episode, where Julie’s furious with him and she goes running, really pushing herself hard? And she gets back to her place and she’s run herself so hard that she’s sweated stains right through her trainers? I mean, that is such a brilliant image! Of her rage, you know, just expressing itself but then emerging in kind of a tawdry way. But, you know, once the point’s been made, once the image is there, you could move on rather faster. I mean, at the end of that section I felt like I knew every millimetre of her sweaty trainers! Every stitch, every shade of every sweat stain... Like my face had been pressed right up against them for pages and pages… not a very pleasant image! I mean, really. Is it?
Moving on… anyway, there’s one more thing we have to talk about. Quite embarrassing! Yeah – that’s right: I'm afraid it’s the sex scene! Sorry… just doing my job. Look – don’t worry about it, OK? I mean everybody finds it hard to write a really convincing sex scene. I just thought… the change of mood was really weird and I didn’t quite get why you did it. I mean, it was so heavy and moody and then suddenly it’s more like farce as if you're playing it for laughs, and –
What do I mean?
Oh. Well… take this bit. “Slowly drawing her hand back from his unbuckled belt, Julie gasped in silent awe as four inches of manhood rose to sway proudly in front of her. ‘Be gentle’ she whispered, wanting the full experience of this behemoth, yet at the same time dreading – “ anyway, you get the point? I mean why play it for laughs?
Isn’t it? Oh. I thought it was funny.
Erm… no, I don’t think I know why. I just thought it was, erm… funny. Doesn’t matter.
Anyway! Later, she’s … well, she’s getting…the full four inches, right, and she starts giggling a bit, then laughs out loud, just at the point when he… when he climaxes. That’s fine, obviously. But then later they’re talking in bed and they both say what a great orgasm they’ve had and – I didn’t really get that bit. I mean, she didn’t have an orgasm, did she? She just laughed at him.
What do you mean, that was the orgasm?
Oh. Oh, right.
So later, when Peter has a fling with Raquel and he unzips his pants and she just laughs straight off the moment she sees his… his full four inches, that’s – ?
Right. OK. I misunderstood that. On the first reading.
So! You might just want to take those thoughts and just, you know… maybe a few short rewrites. Actually, if you could get it from the 90,000 words it is now down to less than eighty that would be really good. It’s a better size for the booksellers. Losing 10,000 words sounds like a lot, but actually I reckon you could get that just from trimming the bits about ladies’ shoes. Maybe more.
Brilliant! So – what’s next? Amanda told me that you mentioned you’re already working on a second novel. That’s really exciting! Good for the marketing too, actually. Got a title you can share with us?
“Sales incentives?” Oooh! What’s that about? Yeah? Life and loves of the owner of a high street shop, eh? Falling for one after another of his lady customers, I expect, if he’s anything like Peter! Sounds great!
So what does he sell? What sort of shop is it? Oh hang on – on second thoughts, don’t tell me. Let me see if I can guess.