What comes after THE END?
I’ve been absent. At the end of writing a book, when my creative energy is focused on climactic scenes and tying up loose ends, it’s hard to think about writing anything else. So my blog takes a hit. I apologize.
But Sweet Salt Air is now done – at least, the heavy-duty, mind-drain part of it is. All 408 pages have gone off to my editor in New York, who will now read it and suggest revisions. I take as many of those as I’m comfortable with and type in my changes. Assuming she approves them, she then line-edits the manuscript, which doesn’t involve substantive changes, simply changes in form. For instance, she may delete a repetitive sentence or smoothe out wording that trips her up. Once we’ve agreed on these small changes, the book goes into production.
The next I hear of it is from the copyeditor, who will have pored through the manuscript for technical errors. These may have to do with chronology – have I written two Wednesdays into a given week, or changed the spelling of a character’s name halfway through the book? My lead, Charlotte, is a travel writer. The copyeditor makes sure that I’ve been consistent throughout in describing her assignments. Likewise, the cookbook that she and Nicole are compiling. It won’t do for them to be writing a chapter called SWEETS that mysteriously changes to DESSERTS mid-way through. My job now is to answer the copyeditor’s queries and correct any discrepancies he or she finds.
Do I mind this “afterwork”? Absolutely not! Since I don’t have to face a blank screen, the responsibility is less daunting. Playing with words is a little like putting flowers in a vase. You already have the raw materials. Now you shift them around until you have the most pleasing arrangement.
Back to the present. Today, tomorrow, the next day – this is happy time. If I haven’t heard from my editor in a week, I’ll be worrying that she doesn’t like the book. So how do I pass the waiting time?
The three in this blog, never published before, were taken in 2008 in a garden setting in central Massachusetts. We had to reschedule several times for rain, and when we finally got sun, the humidity was high, hence hair problems. Forget that! This time I’ll be in a studio.
I hate having my picture taken. Hate it. How about you? Are you a better taker than takee?