A couple of weeks ago I returned from London with The Marlowe Papers typescript as originally submitted to Sceptre, fresh with the pencil marks of my editor, Carole Welch, and ever since then, I’ve been working on my edits. Carole likes to do things the traditional way, so I’ve been working in pencil also, which is somewhat unusual for me. (I’ve been tracking changes in a new Word document nevertheless.)
As I originally conceived it, The Marlowe Papers was supposed to have been a stash of papers written by Marlowe in Elizabethan cipher which I ‘translated’ into contemporary English. I didn’t want the language to be mock-Tudor, but nor did I want it to be anachronistic. Nothing, I hoped, would leap out as being too modern. Of course, I couldn’t stay in the poetic flow while looking up every word, and the work of telling the story effectively in blank verse was work enough, so very often I’d plain forget to consult the OED (online access to which was one of the happiest benefits of my being a student at the time). But after my own editing passes and those of five writer friends willing to offer opinions in return for an early glimpse of the book I’d been banging on about for four years, I didn’t think there’d be many linguistic wristwatch-equivalents left.
How wrong I was!