I'm back! (For those who noticed that I have been MIA). What have I been doing? A great deal.
I hate to sound like a one-note hussy, but that's pretty much how my life has been. I had a birthday in there, which I will thank nobody to mention and which took some time to recover from. My friends insisted on doing things with me. What the hell?
Anyway, the majority of my time has been spent editing my novel. Yeah, about that.
First, I was very, very wrong about the time frame I was looking at. I got my edits back from (who else?) my editor along with a lot of paperwork. That has probably been the biggest shock to me, which is a little stupid if you think about it. I have had cover art request forms, marketing forms, the obligatory W-9, style guides, etc.
When someone tells you that the easy part of writing a novel is the actual writing of it, I assure you that it is absolutely the truth.
Another thing I didn't expect was the formatting and style rules that would be imposed on me. Since my novel will start its life as an eBook, some of the formatting rules are understandable -- certain things will, paraphrased from the words of my editor and her colleagues, give the code vertigo or make it want to drink whiskey.
This involved omitting certain characters (symbols on the keyboard, not people in the story), no indents, double spacing after a paragraph, single spacing after sentences, etc. (I'm not sure if this is standard for every publisher, but if you're thinking of writing a novel, it's something to consider and research. I'm horrified that, during all my research, I neglected this *ahem* detail).
That was painful because I used the tab to indent. So, I had to go through about 350 pages and correct every single tab-indent in the document and double space between paragraphs. Since it was for formatting, it wasn't something I could finagle with Word and make pretty. It had to be done manually.
Now you may understand the title of this entry.
The only other thing that really bothered me was what seemed (and still does to an extent) an arbitrary rule from the backside of Satan himself. In a m/m (usually romance) novel it's important to always know who is doing what and who is speaking. Anyone can understand that (and it's not limited to m/m novels). However, this publisher has a rule regarding pronouns that essentially gave me cholera, shin splints, arthritis, Hanta, and scurvy. *cackle* (Please do not take that literally. Could you imagine me trying to hobble into the ER with those ailments? "Hel... *cough, fall, die*")
I don't know how much is proper to mention, so let's wrap this up by saying that the edits I got back -- as in the things my editor specifically thought needed altering, enhancing, or elucidating -- were relatively few. However, because of these aforementioned rules, I had to go over the entire novel, paragraph by paragraph, and make adjustments, whether it be to the tabs or to comply with the pronoun rule. (A moment of self defense here: I don't think the pronouns were out of control or that their references got lost, but I figured it was better to comply if it didn't change the style, tone, or timbre of the novel, which it didn't. And clarity is rarely a bad thing).
Did I learn something? Lord, yes. Will I use it in my further writing, even if I don't stay with this publisher forever? Absolutely. As much as I protest, do I see the literary wisdom in MOST of the changes? Yes.
However, as with any time I write, I fear I may have gone in and over-edited. Fixed things which weren't broken. So, I am requesting a second editing cycle (bless my editor, she's been so amazing through this process and hasn't tried to have me killed yet), and rest in the faith that there will be fewer changes to make and therefore the process will be easier the second time around.
To squeeze into the time frame I was given and to have time for that second editing round, I had to sleep, eat, wake, and dream about editing. (Yes, I had dreams of pronouns assaulting me, their sharp edges and lack of clarity making them like drawn ninjas with the power to annoy). I finished in what I thought was good time, despite my computer having an aneurysm on me during the home stretch and switching the colors of the tracked changes in the document.
I took today off, but I will have to get back on that proverbial diseased nag and get to the paperwork tomorrow. While I wait for my new round of edits I will edit the short story I might have mentioned in an earlier post.
This may be weird to say, but I consider deadlines challenges, and the whole editing process, this whole writing thing in general, has been a high unlike anything I have ever known. I don't want to stop it, and think I may do my best to stay in motion. Launch from this novel to that short story, into more edits, and from there into the next novel (not in the series, but in general). During all this I hope to post more here, and not just about that one-note trick I'm apparently not so bad at.
This summer, however, will be a challenge. This project will end, and it will be the culmination of a dream years in the making. Of course, then I have to face the idea of possible reviews and sales. Terror incarnate. If I don't have something to leap onto when that ends, I may fall into the cracks.
One dream ends and another starts on the day my first novel will be published -- August 21st.