Diving in

Published June 25, 2014 by helenlaycock

Hello, Blog.

It’s me. I’m back. What do you mean, you don’t ‘recognise’ me? Yes, it’s been a while, I confess, but that’s because I’ve been busy working on Martha and Mitch. Sorry – an enormous photo follows…


This was one of my early books for children – the second I ever wrote, if I remember correctly. I published a kindle version then left it to rot/brew/mature * for a couple of years. *delete as applicable.

I was a little afraid to look at it again #mould, but as my current mission is to create paperbacks of all my books, I had to check if it was really good enough to become ‘real’. What really pushed me was that, after a quiet time of sales, I sold a kindle copy in the U.S. Oh no!

What if it was rubbish? There had always been an irritating niggle at the back of my brain that a few of the passages were a little stilted. I dreaded being confronted by them… much in the way that Indiana Jones must have felt when that big stone ball came rolling towards him.

The test I had to give myself was to re-read it.

If I enjoyed it, I would roll up my sleeves, spit on my palms and do my darned-est to iron out the lumps. After all, a few years down the line, I hope I am a better writer.

Well, well, well… I found that I really enjoyed the story. Who was it that said that a writer never gets bored of editing and re-reading their own work if they’ve done a good job? Or maybe it’s because I have the memory of a goldfish…

I edited and edited and edited. Martha and Mitch was the last thing I thought about before going to sleep and the first thing when I opened my eyes – plus it had a nasty habit of waking me several times between.


  • I simplified the language. Vocabulary that nails it for adult readers is not perfect for children.
  • The author’s voice had been too loud. I added more subtlety whilst allowing a little authorial intrusion.
  • I tightened up everything I could until it was ready to be re-launched, shiny and new.

I handed it over to be proofread and had fantastic feedback, that it was ‘visual’ and would make a fantastic film. Of course, that would necessitate writing it all over again as a script. Now, if I could get George Clooney involved, I’d definitely consider it.


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