The manuscript blog – what’s going on?

Did I say?  The idea of this blog is to, well, accompany Auntie Pat’s memoir.


It will tell the story of how her book came to be.

As I write this, it’s March 2019,  and I’ve just completed a basic transcription of Pat’s hand-scrawled (sorry but her handwriting IS worse than mine) manuscript.

239 pages, lots of photos, and some letters.. more on all of that later.

The book needs tidying, typo-fixing, spell checking, fact checking, a third or fourth attempt at the almost illegible bits…..

Pat the "chow hound"
Pat: “I became a chow hound

Then a few goes at proof reading.  And THEN it might be ready to try out on some publishers’ agents.

Along the way I’ll drop in updates on how it’s going – and advice I’m hearing from people about how to get if off the ground.

I don’t think the book needs much actual editing (as in re-writing). Pat’s writing is mostly engaging, sometimes witty, occasionally political, and often moving.

As I first read it I wondered.   A friend said “turn it into a novel, it will sell better”. He might know, as he’s  a published author.  More on David Young’s thoughts later.

At one point I thought maybe it needed spicing up. More colourful descriptions.

Loud grunts and distant gunfire

But then I made a decision. This is Pat’s book. It’s her story. I want to deliver it in the best shape possible. But it’s not my place to change her words.

I do have one idea. Pat wrote the memoir in chronological order.  From army recruit onwards.

The journo in me says it needs the book equivalent of that TV news adage “best pictures first”.

A quick diversion here. In TV news (in fact any news) you want to get people’s attention at the start.

You put the top line of the story first.  The most interesting and exciting bit.  The headline quote, maybe even the shocking footage.  And then get to the detail after.  I don’t mean misleading and over-selling a story, or exaggerating.  I mean proper journalism.

I ramble on about journalism and news in another corner of this blog and how to “do telly” here.

Anyway, with this in mind, I may carry out one big edit to the memoir – lift one of the most moving scenes and place it at the start of chapter one.

Draw readers in… and then tell the back story.

When the book’s published you’ll get what I mean.

And hopefully Pat will forgive me.

Right. So THIS blog is the story of the story.

And to be honest there’s some catching up to do. I started looking at the book seriously in late 2018…  several months ago.

So I’ve taken a little journalistic licence with the next few blog posts, as they’re written some time after the event, and not as they happened.

Here goes :  And I’m going to start with some background to WHO Auntie Pat was.

That’s next time on THE MANUSCRIPT.

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