Now, as someone who has had to painfully self-edit all his own books to date (by dint of finances I might add - nothing would please me more than to finish my current work and shoot it off to the editor, ready to start on my new project), I have much sympathy for those forced into having to edit their own work. It's damn hard to do, almost impossible to be objective about and because we wrote it, very hard to find our own mistakes.
Over the last two years I have refined my method for self-editing and I think I've got a system now that works, so although I still hate doing it (don't we all), I can now do it with the relative certainty that few typos will get past my eager eyes.
That first client proved to be a chap by the name of Colin Griffiths. Now, I'd read some of Colin's early works and was mightily impressed by his imagination, his story-telling ability and the twists and turns of his books. His books did need editing though and when he asked me to edit one of his latest books; Someone Else's Dream, a couple of months ago, I jumped at the chance.
Guess what? I discovered I actually enjoyed editing "someone else's" work. I won't go as far as to say I love doing it, but there was a certain joy I could take from the process.
There was something special about taking his words, his ideas and his clever twists and giving them texture, context and of course removing so many of his endless commas.
The real joy I've discovered from editing though is being able to watch the growth and development of the author from work to work.
When I first read Griffiths' work, I loved the ensemble casts he wrote with, I loved the depth of his characters and also loved how he seemed able to bring them all together, so they related to each other, at some level, in the story. As mentioned, his ability to surprise and shock was a real talent and I quickly understood that this was a storyteller par excellence.
As a reader, I was happy to ignore the mistakes, the often incorrect grammar usage and the odd words he used inappropriately at times. The story was everything - and it was always damn good!
The first book of his I read, was Underwood and I remember laughing until I almost peed myself at the first page of the story. One entire page, was one sentence, peppered with commas at strategic and some not so strategic points. That's all been fixed now and his ability to write well improves markedly with each story he writes.
Which rather nicely brings me on to his latest effort, which I've just finished editing. MOTHER!
Mother is a psychological thriller of the very best sort. I can honestly say that I believe Mother is the best book Colin Griffiths has written to date. I say that for two reasons. Like Someone Else's Dream, Mother is a departure from the standard Griffith fare, which was horror and the paranormal. This is a true psychological thriller that has you taking sides and rooting hard for the poor, hard-done by, but loyal child. At times you just want to say to her grasping mother; "just die for goodness sake woman!" To arouse intense emotions like that in a reader, Griffiths has clearly had to tap into an exposed nerve and this he done perfectly. The second reason I particularly appreciated Mother was because it was a departure from his usual ensemble cast method of writing. The concentration on just four main characters; Franny, David, Kirk and of course never forgetting, Mother, meant that this book displayed a real depth of character development and skill, as an author. I knew this was a skill Griffiths possessed, but finally in this novel he allowed it to run rampant and did a magnificent job on it.
Yeah, yeah, I know I'm biased, but I really think you will enjoy reading Mother, especially if you're already a Griffiths' fan.
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CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME