I had a draft manuscript for a novel called The Concrete Kiss, which I suspected might be running 10,000 words too long. While I felt the structure and plots were reasonably sound, I needed a fresh eye to give the work a serious copy edit. I was into draft seven and had lost the ability to see the work objectively.
I spoke to Ann Bolch from A Story To Tell..., and from our conversation I felt sure she would indeed be able to help. Firstly, though, Ann asked if she might see a small sample of the work before taking on the full manuscript – that request gave me further confidence she was serious about the task.
Thankfully, Ann called back soon after receiving the sample piece saying she was keen to proceed and I arranged to send the full manuscript through.
Ann and the team from A Story to tell... provided the professional and artistic sounding board I needed.
My manuscript came back annotated throughout with suggestions highlighting thoughts on the role of minor characters, some sections where tautology had crept in, some sentences where the pattern or rhythm became repetitive, some setting issues where I had overdone the atmospheric conditions and left some of the interior settings a little threadbare.
The good news was that the plot and structure were in good shape.
The annotations came with a set of coded acronyms that amused me; everything from R for rhythm, NQR- not quite right, OTT for over the top and NN for not necessary.
I took the advice on board, spent a few weeks re-working the manuscript, then met up with Ann to talk through the changes. The manuscript is in much better shape and it was most encouraging to hear from Ann in person that she had enjoyed the story and thought it was a very pitch-able manuscript.
My challenge now is to find a publisher.