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99 problems but a book ain’t one

Aren't you sharp as a tack? you some kind of law or something?

Aren’t you sharp as a tack? you some kind of law or something?


Thank you all of you fabulous people. 3 weeks to go on the crowd-funding for the book, and we just hit 99%. It has been amazing how kind and generous people have been.

Where we are at now is that I just need £30 to get the book funded, and out there to all of the wonderful supporters. I’m pretty sure we can make that. And payday is here, or looming.

The next stage, after it is funded is for me to finish the hard rewrite  – that’s where you’ve left a book completely alone for 3 months so that you’re not so close to it and you can make the cuts. What Fitzgerald refers to as ‘killing your darlings’ – that sentence or image you’re so proud of but that in the cold light of day doesn’t move the scene forward or slows the pace, you’ve got to cut it.  If a whole scene doesn’t quite deliver, you might have to cut it out, or rewrite the whole thing.  The early chapters before your characters took on their own life where you were just dragging them round like wardrobes – you need to rewrite those bits now that she starts, she moves, she seems to feel the stir of life along her keel.

You can’t do that until you’ve got some professional distance from the book you’ve written, because whilst on rewrites adding new words and moments is really easy, cutting them is the hard bit. It really is killing your darlings.

I like rewrites generally, but cuts are hard.  That’s hopefully the bit that turns an okay book into a good one, and with an authors eye, boy can I spot when a published writer wasn’t able to do it. It is those bits in a book that make you wince with clunkiness and pull you straight out of the scene and ruin the whole willing suspension of disbelief that’s so vital.  (If you’re not sure what I mean, pick up a copy of the Da Vinci Code, turn to any page at random and read it. The first sentence that you read that makes you go “oh, that’s awful”  is the bit that should have been cut or rewritten.

I’m a naked and unashamed fan of Raymond Chandler, and one of the true joys of his work is that if you get a second copy and a red pen, you can pick any page at random and try to cut a passage or a line or a word to improve the work, and it is extraordinarily difficult or even impossible. Every word there is doing work, it carries its own weight, and it is necessary.

[Mark Twain]

“When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them–then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are far apart.”


[Damn right. Similarly be brutal with all the  ‘she exclaimed’, ‘he retorted’ ‘she sneered’ ‘Michael roared’  – use only very sparingly, if at all]

After that, I get to work with the Unbound editor, and that’s when we really start the polishing process, and then when that’s done, all the sexy exciting stuff like working on a cover and getting the final version and the proofs and an Amazon listing gets going!

Thank you again so much, and if you haven’t funded yet but keep meaning to get round to it, this is a really good time.


In the words of Jay-Z himself, “Thank you thank you thank you, you’re far too kind”

About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

2 responses

  1. I must admit I was tempted by Family Law Talk
    Andrew will visit your book group to talk about the book (or come and give a talk on any aspect of Family Law depending on preference).

    Prompted by In court now today in Family Court in Australia : Judge says to stop father giving evidence “I should would anticipate receiving a request from the Mother’s solicitor for an Application to treat his evidence as though he is “a witness unavailable to answer questions” As if he was not there.

    Having also denied him the right to file and rely on his Trial Affidavit and key witness statements and legal opinions.

    I think the Judge lost her memo on the right to a fair trial or was asleep in that lecture at law school.

    But I might just ask you to join the International Law Foundation that is being formed instead, in the Law, nonsense, and the nonsense of law Division. Sub titled “Respectfully, the Judge is an idiot section. (I am only half joking.)

  2. As Justice Goddard has proved me right and that the care system is using judges to allow the harvesting of babies and children for the purpose of abuse and that the pattern has been the same for many generations , when will the courts accept that it is not their position in life to expect a parent to be grovellingly grateful and agree with the , downright lies , deceit and entirely concocted information submitted by LA`s on behalf of criminally negligent medical professionals and SEN education departments who failed in their duty of care , in order to get their stolen child back . This could be interpretted as blackmail and threat which is illegal . Maternity and childrens hospitals induce babies as young as six months old to endure a false puberty and cause children as young as three years of age to have an unnaturally early puberty . These babies and children are then harvested using secretive courts which allow no witnesses and where judges cut and paste documents submitted by LA`s and other parties .
    Justice Goddard who is a UN monitor , asked people who had been sent to Canada and Australia between 1920 and 1970 where they were force adopted , to come forward and make statements about the sexual abuse they were subjected to . It seems that before being sent to Australia and Canada at around the age of three , where they were handed over to sex offenders and subjected to hideous abuse , they had first been sexually abused whilst in ” care ” in the UK .
    If we consider that the babies and children and their families may have the right to make genuine medico legal claims and are then prevented from doing so because their children are stolen by the decisions made in the courts and that this mechanism prevents them from having any rights to wealth or to own property and that they have no human right to fair trial , this would be classed as slavery . If the government is now considering removing the human rights act , then surely this would not be legal if the slavery act were not repealed first .
    The forced adoption business looks like an elaborate fraud , which embezzles money , owed to children and their families for substandard medical care and educational neglect . The removal of babies and children for the purpose of ritual sexual abuse is also a war crime and a crime against humanity .

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