I started the day with a lazy morning. Watched Charlie Brooker. Had some coffee with Mr S. Ate toast and peanut butter. Admired the lawn (which has been beautifully trimmed by me). Everything was dandy – three days to go before the m/s needed to go to Jocasta (my editor at Sceptre). I weighed up the pros and cons of a mid-morning nap.
Then my film agent e-mails. She wants to send the m/s out to someone. Today. 4pm latest.
Now, I should explain that the ensuing panic was entirely my own doing. The lovely Elinor would have been quite happy to send the last draft. Lots of people have read the last draft and liked it – even liked it quite a lot. But, every time I start a new draft, I decide the last one was rubbish. At a dinner this week during the London Book Fair, Jocasta had got copies of chapter 3 nicely printed and bound in little pamphlets. I flicked through one and, of course, it was the last draft. Rubbish. I wanted to steal every copy and stash them in my coat pocket. I managed to confiscate one from a chap threatening to read it, telling him, ‘Don’t read that, it’s crap.’ He looked a bit shocked, so I tried to reassure him, ‘Don’t worry, I wrote it. But it’s still rubbish.’
So, the point is, I couldn’t possibly let Elinor send out the old draft. This gave me five hours to finish the edit instead of three days. Ah, it was a strange nether-world that I inhabited during those hours. The internet metamorphosed from my favourite palace of work avoidance, to something I consulted merely for research purposes. Not my usual ‘research’ – oh, I’d better check this…oooh…e-bay – but acutal, ‘what month do prickly sowthistles flower’ and ‘are meadow vetchlings always yellow’ research.
Mr S was drafted in to help. He got a trifle annoyed when I started to scribble ‘this is sh*t’ in all the margins, when he suggested a little rephrasing was in order. But, I got it done. Mostly. There are still grammatical errors but the big changes are all done. Horray. I do have a nasty feeling that I did leave a stray ‘this bit is crap’ in the document. Ah well. Time to drink gin.