The Sewing Machine

By Natalie Fergie

3 secrets. 27 notebooks. 4 generations. 1 blog. Millions of stitches.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

As Adele would sing...


After spending several weeks structually editing the manuscript of The Sewing Machine, which involved more investment in the Post It note division of 3M than I would have thought possible, I have typed THE END and sent it back to Celine to look at for a second time. 

Editing is a weird business. 

You write a story.

You read it.

You realise that bits of it are ALL WRONG.

You (self) edit it.

You rinse and repeat the last three steps multiple times - ten, twenty - and that's just what you do in your head before you get as far as touching the keyboard or lifting a pencil.

Eventually, you are sure you've tied up all the ends, stopped your characters wearing Summer dresses in January, researched contemporary music for 1956 and checked the price of a postage stamp in 1980. You read your dialogue out loud when there is no-one else in the house, and fret about whether your characters drink Merlot or Pinot Grigio and whether they use loose leaf Earl Grey or supermarket own brand teabags.

You send it off to be structurally edited. 

And then, when it comes back, you start the whole process all over again. 

This is not because the first (45th) original draft of the book is terrible. When the opening lines of the Editor's Report say you have 'a cast of wonderful characters' and that you have 'captured a sense of place so well' it's a pretty nice thing for an author to read about their own work.  The reason you start all over again is because a professional editor will look at the book and find all the things which will improve it and make it a much BETTER book, and that, of course is what the author wants and the readers deserve. 

It takes time. The greenhouse is now populated by triffids and the glove I started knitting at the beginning of the Olympics remains one-fingered. 

And of course, Adele is wrong. This is not the end... there is copy editing and proofreading to come. But for the next week or two, I'm going to enjoy reading books by other people and not feel guilty about it!

Many thanks to my new supporters who have pledged towards the book - Cathy Scott, Jonatha Kottler, Aimée Nicholson, Charlotte Monckton, Helen matthews, Fiona Blogg, Dori Smith, Sandra Grimes, Caroline Brown, Margaret Walker, Elizabeth Lloyd, Julie Matthews,Julia Tratt, Ruth Churchman and Anne Scott.

There are now TWO HUNDRED AND TWO of you, which is amazing. Thank you, every single one of you.

Best Wishes,


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Sarah Gee
 Sarah Gee says:

Sounds a bit like writing a doctoral thesis. Always had to remind myself: It's worth it!

posted 30th August 2016

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