Friday, 22 January 2010

Comparisons are Odious

I can't remember which character in which book says comparisons are odious, but they're spot on, whoever they are. One of the most odious comparisons a new writer can make is to compare their work with that of a published novel. It will almost certainly lead to despair, but it shouldn't. By the time my work is published it will have gone through several hands...

1) My four friendly readers.
2) My agent.
3) My editor, and sometimes I work with another editor as well.
4) The copy editor
5) The proof reader

That's eight or nine readers, and each time I'm going to be redrafting and fine-tuning. It's hardly surprising that published work is more polished than unpublished stuff. That's not to say we shouldn't aim for the work we submit to be as polished as we can make it - and the first three chapters should be so smooth you could run a silk stocking over them without snagging - but it'll only depress you if you make direct comparisons.

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