Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear?

By Lev Parikian

A lapsed and hopeless birdwatcher’s attempt to see 200 birds in a year

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Snoopy dance

At about 9.15 this morning I did a little Snoopy dance.

I do them most days, obviously, but this one had an extra bounce to it. I’d just received an email from myeditorthelovelyScott. It contained words like ‘warm’, ‘funny’, ‘very good book’. It transpired that he wasn’t talking about some bestseller he’d just read, but the 70+ thousand book-shaped words I’d sent him a couple of weeks ago. So a Snoopy dance was most definitely in order.

I’m ignoring, for the moment, the dread word ‘rewrite’. Baby steps.

But once the initial euphoria has worn off, there’s rejigging to be done, things to be tweaked and moved around, added and deleted. And that’s before Scott, in his words, gets ‘proper stuck in with a deep edit’.

For all that it’s exciting, this next stage is undoubtedly a bit daunting. While I reckon I’m at least halfway decent at wrangling a single sentence into shape, the grand architecture of a whole book is a different barrel of satsumas. And the whole process requires me to stand back from this work into which I’ve already poured so much energy, and assess it objectively and dispassionately, as if I were a reader into whose unwilling hands it has been forcibly thrust. Like most writers, my attempts to do this tend to lurch between two extremes: the ‘damn I’m goooood’ satisfaction of writing something absolutely scintillatingly brilliant, and the ‘Jesus this is hog-whimpering cack’ despair you get when you read the same passage two days later.

What I need to find is the happy medium, the ‘ok this is good, entertaining stuff, but it sags in the middle and that bit is self-indulgent and this bit needs to go here and be five hundred words shorter.’

I’ll get there. Baby steps.

In other news, we have the beginnings of an inkling of an idea for a cover design. Scott, generous chap that he is, has described it as ‘our idea’. But it was his. I told you he was lovely.


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Lynne Bulmer
 Lynne Bulmer says:

Well done Lev!

posted 9th March 2017

Jane Park
 Jane Park says:

Mighty impressive!

posted 9th March 2017

Miranda Dickinson
 Miranda Dickinson says:

Hooray for happy editor emails! Onwards, dear sir... x

posted 9th March 2017

Bryn Walters
 Bryn Walters says:

Congratulations on already being at this point of the process. I can't wait to read it!

posted 9th March 2017

Dudley Pritchard
 Dudley Pritchard says:

Who was it that said "publish and be damned"?

posted 10th March 2017

Anne Sedgwick
 Anne Sedgwick says:

Good on yer mate - carry on regardless.
Love Annie xx

posted 10th March 2017

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