Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Was at cruising speed....

I've been writing between 1,000 and 4,000 words a day, until today, when I got the copyedited version of my upcoming novel. Now rather than forge ahead in my new book, I am subjected to the unique torture that is reading my own writing over and over again.

I've been very impressed with this publisher, because man have I heard nightmare stories. Editors who don't give deadlines, only pitch a fit when you unknowingly pass them. Copy editors who correct things like Yoda's grammar (true story, happened to a Star Wars novel.) Novels that end up just shelved for months or years on end before coming out (I am still having this particular nightmare, and will until the book is out). I even knew someone who had a book all copyedited, the galleys set, and then the release date came and no book. A month later when he followed up with the publisher, they said they'd opted not to publish it "just then". That was a few years ago, and it still isn't out.

But I digress. I was talking about copyediting. As I read and revise according to copyedits I have come to believe that this process accomplishes two things. One, the edits get done. Two, the author is reduced to a very low place as she reads her own writing for the millionth time (I can recite parts of this novel in my sleep, and may even do so for all I know). This latter effect prevents illusions of grandeur and unreasonable expectations. I guess there are authors who think their first book will hit the New York Times bestseller list. I suspect they weren't reading very carefully when it came time to do copyedits. Reading my own writing feels like examining my own face carefully in the mirror. I get more critical the more I look.

Next I'll have the galleys to proofread. That is the stage where I really lose it. It's when I think, "What the heck? Some crazy people are making a book and they put my writing in it? Are they on drugs?" The very first time I did this was with a short story in an anthology, with an illustration. I sat there with the galleys thinking, "This looks so professional, except for all the words they're putting into it."

But is there any job I'd prefer to this one? No. Am I really hating my life? No way. Carrie Vaughn put it very well when she said, "Yeah, these are problems, but they're the problems you dreamed about having."

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