Authors – can you ever over edit?

‘The Spirit of the Jaguar’ is my current work in progress. This is an historical novel which began life as the dream sequences in a time slip story set primarily in the 1930’s. However, the character in the dreams demanded that I give her a story of her own, and so Tlalli was born. She is the daughter of a tribal chief within the Inca Empire. The story tells of how her life changed when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1532. Tlalli becomes a rebel leader and an icon for her people in their early struggles against the Spanish invasion.

I love to write historical fiction, and enjoy the research involved in creating the settings, following the true history, and allowing the characters to grow and evolve within these, to tell their story. The original book was aimed at the adult market. But Tlalli’s story was so suited to YA that I have spent the last few months rewriting and editing the story for a younger audience; hoping that adults may also enjoy the reading experience.  The differences between the two markets are subtle. As a teenager myself I enjoyed books written for children and adults. I don’t think there was a teenage market in books like there is today. A general rule would be, never to talk down to children, but stretch their ability to comprehend words and concepts, allow their imaginations to soar, and never patronise them.

In completing this work to a considerably higher standard than my original, I am indebted to Cornerstones Literary Agency and their consultative editor Sandra Glover; herself a successful YA author. Her input, and that of the agency staff, have proved a guiding light.

Reworking this novel has become a labour of love, allowing my heroine to talk to me and silence my own voice. To see her world with her eyes, not mine. It is still fiction, but I hope when I am ready to seek an agent or publisher in 2015 my labour will have been worthwhile.

To answer my own original questions – can you over edit? – I say, No. Let me know what you think.

About Susan Pope

Writer, poet and author. Leader of Women's Writing Group
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