Warming to a Theme

Andrew, my husband, and I have been working on a project which has resulted in Focus on Tisbury, a book by Martin Shallcross. It is a collection of Martin’s contributions to theTisbury parish magazine. As he has been producing a monthly article for the magazine for over 16 years, there were quite a lot of them to choose from - presumably (16 x 12 = 192) or thereabouts. In the end, we divided the final selection into themed sections: The Farming Year, Local Farms and Businesses, People - Past and Present etc Martin Shallcross is something of a polymath - a chartered surveyor, a farmer and an Anglican priest. He has also lived, worked and farmed all his life in the Tisbury area and is a man of wide-ranging knowledge and interests; his articles are an expression of all this and, without organisation, the text could have emerged as an enthusiastic scrapbook rather than a considered anthology. So we were pleased with the themed approach - and so was Martin.

Constructive Criticism I have also just proofread a book about a famous campaign of the Second World War. The writer is undoubtedly knowledgeable about his subject; every sortie, every retreat, every act of heroism is set out in enormous detail; no damaged tank, abandoned weaponry or prisoner taken is left unrecorded. Nothing wrong with this but without chapter headings, the occasional sub-heading and a structure on which to hang this material, his account becomes a bit of a war-zone in its own right. Perhaps I should suggest to my author that he adopt some old-fashioned, extended chapter headings like those used so deliciously in Three Men and a Boat? In which the Scots Guards achieve a vantage point and resist the enemy for several crucial days….

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