Writing: Cutting To Create, Or Nominate A Patsy

December 17, 2014



There’s a saying that goes “There’s a book inside us all, just waiting to get out” and that might well be true, but it’s the getting it out that’s the difficult thing.

When it came to writing The 52 List, I got the manuscript done in a relatively short space of time. And I think this is probably the same for a lot of writers – the initial portion is fairly simple to complete. It’s after that it starts to get tricky…

You see, rather than going down the true “self-publishing” route, I decided, on the basis that if anything’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, I would invest in some expert help. Enter the wonderful Patsy Byron of Stellar Publishing.

I can say “wonderful” now, because the trauma of getting the book into print has now passed. While the manuscript was being edited and torn apart and rewritten and then rewritten again, I didn’t like Patsy very much at all. Why? Simply because she’s so good at what she does.  She wasted no time in telling me exactly what was wrong with my writing and politely suggested I do it again….. only better! She changed words, sentences, whole paragraphs. Things I thought were good were removed. Bits I quite liked were changed. It seemed to go on and on forever. Actually, it could’ve done, because once Patsy had started, I couldn’t seem to finish and spent hours and hours and hours messing until I finally decided enough was enough and took a big step back and accepted the manuscript was probably as good as it was ever going to get.

The final book, therefore, bears little resemblance to my initial draft, but I’m very grateful for that, as I now see that my first attempt wasn’t really all that good. And although I know there’s lots of little things I would still change, I’m happy that the final print is about as good as it possibly could be and I’ve got Patsy to thank for that.

So, time to pass on some words of wisdom: if you do want to write a book, then go ahead, but accept that it will consume you to the point of distraction, take over your life for months and you will most likely give into tears of frustration long before it’s finished.

I would also say that, whereas paying an editor to rip your script apart may seem unnecessary, please trust me when I say it’s probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make and the final book will be so much better because of it. As Patsy says “You only get one chance when it comes to publishing, so you need to make sure you get it right”.


For more information about Lizzie Jones and The 52 , go www.the52list.com.