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Posted By Michelle Birbeck

So I’m in the middle of the final edits for Last Chance, and one thought occurred to me; I love my editor. She tells me everything straight, isn’t afraid to pull her punches, and gives me everything I need to know in language I understand.

Now, I’ve done my A Levels in English Language and Literature, and I got a high B in both of them. But I always had one problem with them; the language. For me it’s like trying to remember names. Introduce me to Fred, Jack, and Melissa, and ten minutes later, I’m sat wondering who the hell all these people are. I just don’t do names. It takes ages, and countless tries to do so.

How does that affect editing? Well, having someone tell me that my prepositions and my verbs are backwards is going to mean very little to me. I would have to look them up in order to work out what words you were referring to. Now if you told me my doing words were all wrong, I’d know what you were talking about. It’s not that I’m stupid or daft in the head, I just learn a different way to most of the people I know.

I learn by doing. So in order to pass my A Levels, I spent hours sat with a notepad and pen writing down the technical terms and their meanings over and over again. And then I reversed it and wrote down their meanings and then their names. It’s the only way they stuck long enough for me to do anything with them.

So editing the first book was a bit of a chore in places. It was all technical terms and proper names for everything, and quite frankly, there were times when it gave me a headache. Of course, that could have been the sixteen hour days in front of the computer.

Editing this time around has been fantastic. It’s all been in easily managed chunks, one chapter at a time. And everything has been put in a way that I not only understand, but in a way that is clicking in my head like magic. Everything is working. I don’t have a headache when I’m making changes, and I understand why the changes need to be there.

With just fourteen weeks until Last Chance is out, and all the heartache that’s come with everything that happened, I am extremely glad of one thing; my editor. She is an absolute star.

Now I just need to persuade her to come work with me again for the next book.

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Things have been somewhat fail this month. With all the good intentions I had of having a break from this work lark and then coming back at it after Christmas, all of them went out of the window. First with the flu, then with the combination of a cough and my mother-in-law being ill, and then with a bad chest infection.

Three weeks later, and I am finally starting to feel a bit more like myself. I’m still attempting to cough up my respiratory tract from time to time, and doing simple things like climbing the stairs is exhausting, but I’m better than I was; I can actually get up the stairs now. My diet is all to pot, too, but a week of hardly eating at least didn’t put me too far off track. Not the best way to lose weight, admittedly, but when the act of getting up out of a chair is so draining it warrants a nap, cooking is the last thing I thought of doing.

Now, aside from the worst case of ill I’ve had since I was fifteen, not a lot else has happened. Editing on Last Chance is going well, and we are now on the home stretch. My prereaders have the book, and my editor is doing her last run through now. All that will be left after that is my last run through.

There are now just over 17 weeks until Last Chance comes out, so as soon as I have caught up on my emails and got myself right after the two week break and three week ill, I’ll be sorting out blog tours and launch parties and competitions. There’s a lot of work ahead of me, and I’m hoping that I got all the stress and unwell out of my system now, before I really get started.

In other news, there will be a new short story out when Last Chance comes out, and this time it is going to be an accompaniment to the series. No details for anyone yet as to what that is, but stay tuned for all kinds of sneak peeks and treats in the run up to release day.
So here's the the year finally starting. A month and a half late... but at least it's starting at last.