After two weeks and industrial amounts of red ink, I have finished a first paper edit of my book. There is still a lot of work to do, but the gaps are slowly being filled in, or at least identified.
The next step is to get back on the keyboard to take in the many, many corrections and write the few final scenes that remain elusive. I’ve figured out whereabouts they need to go and largely what they need to accomplish. It’s mostly about tying up plot strands – not so much because I forgot to do that when I was writing as that I still hadn’t figured out how. Getting an overview of the shape and pacing has been very helpful there.
Here’s a before and after shot of the MS, from pristine pages fresh out of the printer to something more reflective of how I feel post-lockdown. I daren’t show you a sample page because I haven’t put the good words in yet – that’s a second draft task (she said optimistically):
I’ve also been watching plenty of films as part of my ongoing research. Having worked my way through the whole book, Marnie is now out and The Ghost and Mrs Muir is in. Carousel is out (I hate it anyway), and Royal Wedding is in. I want to use films that readers will for the most part recognise and have some kind of connection with. This is about the universal language of film rather than having it as a Mastermind specialist subject.
Along the way, I’ve nonetheless watched some films that aren’t so well remembered. Vivacious Lady (1938), for example, starring a very young-looking Ginger Rogers and James Stewart is an enjoyable if frothy comedy about an academic who marries a nightclub singer after a single evening together. Rogers makes even eating corn on the cob look glamorous. And Stewart does the best on-the-phone acting.
Call Me Madam from 1953 has music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and stars Ethel Merman as a most unlikely US Ambassador to the fictional kingdom of Lichtenburg. The highlight for me was this infectious duet of ‘You’re Not Sick You’re Just in Love’ with the fabulous Donald O’Connor as her patient assistant. It’s lovely to see well known songs in the context for which they were written. In this case, he’s rather inconveniently fallen in love with Lichtenburgian royalty (Vera-Ellen):
Want to read more? The next book report is here.