I always knew one day I would write about my colourful past. Six months after my dad died, I decided I could begin. He was the one that I reveredand his opinion mattered to me.
He never had much, and spent a lifetime living below the poverty line. I hoped that one day I’d buy him a huge mansion. When he became terminally ill, his state benefits increased. He spent what he needed and quietly arranged his funeral. What funds he had over, he allocated in mini portions for his children and grandchildren.
I decided to use mine to pay for a professional editor – nothing flash, an independent.
My sister assures me he would have been proud and perhaps he may have been. Perhaps he is.
He was an orphan to a prostitute. Our family history regarded without shame: it was what it was. We had no mom, so Dad raised five kids, and I was his baby. Still, I only ever told him of my legitimate successes. I was living in London and doing all right for myself.
I began compiling my memories in January 2012. I created a bullet-point list of every significant event I could recall. Things that steered my life in a certain direction. I placed them in chronological order. I added my developments and life lessons. Some embarrassing and some comical situations. My tragedies and heartaches too. It was not easy to discern what to include and what to omit. So at this stage I tried to include everything.
Some of the shorter happenings which I felt significant enough to include seemed weak. So I learned to group them. Poetic licence, I think it’s called. For instance, in reality tennis in the morning and theatre in the evening could have taken place on different days.
Once loosely ordered I began to elaborate. To fatten up whilst explaining the relevance, how they fitted into the story. Showing the me I was at that particular point in time.
I wrote out my first draft through the summer, neglecting my garden projects. By October it was complete. I thought it was brilliant so naturally showed it off. I sent it to a couple of friends for feedback. Responses were encouraging but not “wow”.
I decided from day one I wouldn’t pressure myself with deadlines. I didn’t want it to become a chore. I had a simple goal to hold a book I’d written.
I put off draft two until the Christmas decorations were taken down.
I read some blogs. I discovered I should have begun building an online presence two years prior to completion to give my work any chance at a successful launch.
So began my “look at me campaign”.
I perceived a negative attitude aimed towards inferior-quality, self-published books. Badly-written rush jobs.
Wary from experience, I became worried that my rent-boy life could be judged unfairly. So I based my publicity campaign around dispelling preconceptions.
One of my attention grabbing placards read:
I do solemnly declare that… My book, whether it be electronic or paper, SHALL be edited by a real editor that WHO graduated from A university.
The corrections were genuine mistakes.
I worked on my second draft January to April. It was so much better than the initial copy, I was embarrassed that I’d sent it out.
I stumbled across my editor on Twitter. She did a free sample chapter. She was so pedantic I knew she was the one for me. Plus the quote was easily affordable.
In May I attempted to do a read through BUT couldn’t proceed without making changes, no matter how small. My editor suggested it was probably time to give to her.
She did her first-round editand I accepted every one of her proposals. I had vowed that I wasn’t going to be precious over my words.
In the second-round edit, I accepted a couple of minor cuts which were harder to swallowbut made perfect sense. I had complete trust in my editor: I could tell she knew what she was doingand she handled me delicately.
After two more editor sweeps I had my completed manuscript… then real work began…
You can learn more about our guest Paul Lovell on his facebook page
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