I have spent all of my spare time for the past week doing a close read of “Fatal Forgery” – both a sense check (do the dates work? could he walk from A to B as I suggest? were skirts short enough for stockings to be on show in 1824?) and a proofreading check (punctuation, mis-spellings, grammar). It’s been pernickety work and I am mightily glad to have finished it for the moment. Now I need to make the changes I have spotted, and then – groan – do it all again.
It hasn’t been without its amusements. For instance, can you spot where I should put the missing word ‘he’ in this sentence: “I glanced across at him and raised his eyebrows.”
Coco Chanel once said “Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewellery”. And she was jolly stylish. So, in the spirit of aiming for style rather than flamboyance, one of my editing tasks was to get rid of extraneous words and phrases – to slice through the unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Personally, I love both – but I have to admit that a more pared-down style is easier to read, more pacey, and more in keeping with the character of my narrator, who is a policeman and therefore more focused on the factual than on the flowery.