Been a manic two weeks. Well, actually it’s a week that feels like two. Been ploughing through stuff, trying to get Ghost in the Machine nailed. The rules for submitting manuscripts is to send a synopsis and your first three chapters. The problem being, of course, that you’ve got to have your full book nailed before it’s mailed [thanks]. At the moment, I’ve ticked the boxes that say 1st three and synopsis, but i’ve still got to finish my third draft. I’m up to 70pc now, having gotten through 10k yesterday. I’m through the big gap where I had to write two new ‘days’ in, and I’m back to editing. The trouble then is that there were problems in the first draft that the second draft didn’t resolve, so I’ve had to substantially rework the edited bits, so it’s not a simple edit. The sequence of events has changed quite a bit, so I’ve had to rewrite hundreds of words and write new link sections. Believe me, this is the last time I start writing without a very detailed plan! The third draft works in terms of structure and plot, but is slightly unrefined when it comes to the writing, which is quite natural – to resolve this, it’s a manic paper edit, go through the whole thing in a week and get it consistent. The fourth draft is that, and is where the first three chapters come from. They’re pretty much perfect to me, nice crisp prose and with nice short, tight chapters. Style is something I am very particular about but have let slip. I’m aiming for the precise weighted description of Ellroy, with dialogue similar to Brookmyre or MacBride, i.e. colloquial and funny but also serious. I read a piece about Orwell a few months back – he never used common sayings. It’s something I’m trying to excise – it’s very easy to fall into the ‘as something as’ trap when I need to focus on precise descriptions. Anyway. Enough – more editing tonight.