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Monday, January 08, 2007

Mostly About Edits

Yesterday was a very productive day. I finished the writing part of my copy edits and began marking up the manuscript. The two scenes that I reworked ended up being a lot easier to take care of than I expected. I'd thought I was going to need to trash large portions and do massive writing, but it ended up that all I needed to do was change a few sentences here and there and it took care of things. Yea!

Markups are always time consuming, but even those were going along quite well. Of course, I'll include a spreadsheet of the changes I made. I'm a teensy bit compulsive--what can I say? And I'll probably type up a response to the copy edit query sheet even if it's just to say "okay." Besides, I want to explain why I didn't make a few of the changes.

Like toe-to-toe. That got changed to head-to-head. Well, first off, I don't like head-to-head. I don't know why, but I can't recall ever writing it and I don't know if I ever will. I never say never because the next thing you know, I'll have a character who uses that phrase, but right now, I wouldn't write it. Seeing it in my book grates on me. Again, I don't know why. It's a stupid reaction, but I also had it when one of my editors changed "butt" to "buttocks." I told him he could use any other word and I wouldn't object, but that I couldn't stand buttocks. :-)

The other reason I want to keep toe-to-toe is I meant toe-to-toe in most of the cases. Ryne, my heroine, literally gets in the hero's space when he gets her het up--and Deke riles her up a lot! In the spots where I didn't mean toe-to-toe, I reworded it to something else other than head-to-head. I think I used "squared off."

It's funny, there are some authors that will fight for every comma, that will be outraged if an editor changes a word in their story. I'm not like that. I don't think I've ever argued about punctuation (even when I'm right, although I will change it back to the way I had it. Like the comma comes before "and" in a clause, dang it. I cringe when I see that in my stories because I know better) and I rarely argue word changes unless it's changed my meaning or it's a word I don't like or wouldn't use.

And I finished The War of Art by Steven Pressfield yesterday and I can't recommend this book highly enough. I think there's something in there for everyone who wants to achieve a dream, but it's for sure good for anyone interested in something creative--especially writers. I honestly can't imagine any writer who wouldn't take away something to help them out of this book. I wish someone had told me about it the day it came out!

Anyway, I emailed the author and told him how much I loved his book. I never used to do this, BTW. Before I sold, I never even thought about it, and even if I had, I would have figured the author received so much fan mail that one more would be a burden. Or that they were so busy, a note would be a burden. I have to tell you, I found out differently. Fan mail is the best thing ever. It doesn't matter how busy I am or how swamped and overwhelmed I feel at that particular moment, answering fan mail is a joy. So I vowed that whenever I read a book I liked, I was going to let the author know about it. Of course, I haven't had time to read much in the last few years.

After I sent the note, my first thought was, OMG, I just emailed the bestselling author of The Legend of Bagger Vance; what was I thinking? He must get tons of fan mail. But you know what? Within a few hours, I had a fantastic note back from him. I read it a few times. I guess now I understand why readers are in awe when an author answers them because that's how I felt. :-)