The Black Cat monthly round-up: February 2022

Well, February was… February. I don’t know what to say, really, so I’ll leave it to the CIEP’s statement of solidarity. To return to personal concerns, I have decided not to go to the London Book Fair this year, as I’m not quite ready to spend a day in an enclosed space with thousands of other people, but I’m tentatively planning to go next year.

What I’ve been working on

On the face of it, it doesn’t look like I did much this month, but that’s not quite accurate. I finished the critique of an apocalyptic horror novel I started in late January, and I’m delighted that I will be working with the author again once they have finished their revisions. It’s always very interesting, and usually very rewarding, to copy-edit a novel I have seen in an earlier form and already given advice on. The rest of the month, apart from my obligatory tutoring time, was taken up by the proofread of an absolute monster of a book. It was non-fiction for one of my publisher clients, and at 225,000 words, it was by far and away the longest manuscript I have ever worked on. It’s a real challenge when a manuscript is that long – there’s just so much to keep track of.

A new hobby

Last year, I spent a long time working with one of my favourite clients on an epic fantasy series, and every so often a character would ride a horse and I’d leave a comment for the author about how I am not sure a horse actually works in the way described – and then we’d end up changing it. I was basing a lot of this on my faded memories of my own horse riding when I was a child. This led me to thinking fondly of hacks and the countryside and the smell of horse (is that weird? I’m not the only one, right?), and I wondered if it would be awkward to start lessons again as an adult. Plus, it would be great to refresh my knowledge for when I work on other fantasy series. After much searching, I found a good riding school that hadn’t shut down over the course of the pandemic, and I’ve taken up the reins again. My legs hated me for a week after my first lesson, and my coccyx is not a fan of my attempts at trotting, but I think I’m making progress…