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Author Joan De La Haye on Revising

I interviewed Joan De La Haye, horror author and demonologist, about what it was like for her to work with an editor and make changes to her novel, Shadows.

Joan writes to us:
I tend to wake up in the middle of the night, or come running out of the shower, when inspiration strikes. Angel thought that sharing one of these middle of the night sessions (right) with you would be fun. She also thought she’d be extra greedy and convinced me to share what that same passage looked like during the editing process with my editor, Jayne Southern, and what the final version in the book looks like.

So here is the progression of one section of ‘Shadows’. I hope you enjoy it.

My wonderful editor’s, Jayne Southern’s, changes (editor’s changes in red):

~ Chapter 12 ~

I woke up curled around the base of the toilet. The lines of the tiles were imprinted on my cheek. My stomach made its presence known by forcing me to empty out whatever was left inside me. I threw up once again. (My life was turning into one big purge fest. tautology?) A pattern was starting to emerge. Nightmare. Purge. Nightmare. Purge. Nightmare. Purge. It was a little monotonous.

All I could hear was an insistent, demanding knocking. It took a few moments to realise the knocking, echoing around in my head, was actually coming from my front door again. The knocking irritated me.

I struggled to my feet, managed to stand and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It was not a pretty sight. I looked as though I’d been on a hectic drinking binge followed by a few rounds with Mike Tyson. I forced the nausea back down into the pit of my stomach. The knocking grewot louder and more insistent. I waddled out of the bathroom still wearing last night’s clothes. My vision was blurry. All I could see was a shadow through the frosted glass of the front door. I opened it slowly. Every part of my body ached.

The final passage after editing:

~ Chapter 12 ~

I woke up curled around the base of the toilet. The lines of the tiles were imprinted on my cheek. My stomach made its presence known by forcing me to empty out whatever was left inside me. My life was turning into one big purge fest. A pattern was starting to emerge. Nightmare. Purge. Nightmare. Purge. Nightmare. Purge. It was a little monotonous.

All I could hear was an insistent, demanding knocking. It took a few moments to realize the knocking, echoing around in my head, was actually coming from my front door again. The knocking irritated me.

I struggled to my feet, managed to stand and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It was not a pretty sight. I looked as though I’d been on a hectic drinking binge followed by a few rounds with Mike Tyson. I forced the nausea back down into the pit of my stomach. The knocking grew louder and more insistent. I waddled out of the bathroom still wearing last night’s clothes. My vision was blurry. All I could see was a shadow through the frosted glass of the front door. I opened it slowly. Every part of my body ached.

Angel’s final comments:
I just want to remark that any novel you read (anyone’s novel) has gone through a long, strenous and tedious process of writing, revising, editing, revising and re-revising, and revising, prior to landing in your lap. I know of no writer from whom a novel flows without flaws. The true challenge for any writer is in the honing, and the mark of a great writer is someone who can take a grain of sand and turn it into a pearl.

Thanks so much, Joan! 🙂

Joan’s next novel will be out sometime next year, I believe. It’s a sequel to Shadows.

Learn more about Joan, her writing, and her life at the Wily Writers site, where there are links to her novel and her blog. You can also read or listen to a short origins story about the character in the excerpts above, “Jack’s Lament.”

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