Where were we? I’m having real trouble keeping track of when now is and when it should be. I seem to keep ending up somewhere in the middle. But I suppose that’s better than believing we’re in September (and late September at that), as everyone else seems to think (and I thought I was having bad when-am-I? issues).
Anyway, today is a day in July. Um… Early July. Say the 4th of July, because that’s meant to be a good day for Americans (and part Americans presumably get a pretty good day too). Anyway, it’s the 4th or the 5th or the early-something-th of July and I’ve got a lovely email waiting in my in-box…
Rebecca has reviewed the revised manuscript and… she likes it! She’s happy with the changes!
I scan frantically through her notes to see how much there is still to do…
Change a few words here and there, mainly where words are repeated within the same sentence or in neighbouring ones. I never have any trouble spotting these when I’m editing for other people, but I can NEVER see my own work clearly in this regard.
Hm… here’s a line of dialogue to change. Oh, and one other. This I can cope with! If only it’s just this level of stuff that’s left now…
What’s this? Something to clarify. This I can do! (In about 10 minutes, what’s more.)
Ah… The answer to one of my questions… To footnote or not to footnote: that was, indeed, the question…. And now it is answered. (Not to footnote – use your Author’s Note at the end.)
A word that doesn’t work in this line of dialogue. Another in that. Fair enough.
This new line in the revised manuscript needs some further work: not clear enough. Hm… How can I say it better?
Ah, a nice little slip of logic there: people are seeing things with their eyes closed. Which would be fine if this were a fantasy novel, but not quite so great in a psychological thriller… Probably they need their eyes open for this.
Oh, and here is a nice little bit of unattributed dialogue. Now who does it belong to? Probably worth specifying since I hate it when other writers aren’t clear (one of my little quibbles with Hilary Mantel’s wonderful Wolf Hall – curious minds want to know, so authors should beware of withholding).
To italicise or not to italicise this one word? Who cares? Whatever way Rebecca likes it is fine with me: she’s the one who has enough distance from the book to see these little things clearly. It’s not like dropping the italics on this single word is going to make a blind bit of difference to anyone’s enjoyment of the book.
Excellent! My character has just skipped out in the middle of the school day for no apparent reason. Or at least that’s the unintended implication. Better make it clear that the chat with the headmistress happens right at the end of the day so she can poddle off afterwards without it being strange that no storm ensues.
Lands instead of alights? I really like alights. Please, please can I keep it?
The American in me is fighting to get out. Run for cover! Garbage invasion! Where’s some good British rubbish when you need it?
Look out! The Inner American is taking charge. Beware the frightful parking lot! Save our car parks!
Ah… This is interesting. A three word phrase that might just give the game away two pages too early. It gets so hard to tell after a while from the ‘inside’ of the book. This is exactly why brilliant editors are needed to tell you (as the writer) how to strike the right balance in terms of giving readers enough information… but not too much.
And there we have it… A few hours worth of work and the book will be done… I hope. Cross fingers!
(BTW, I know the photo has nothing to do with the post but I just really like it… It’s a happy post. It’s a happy sort of a photo. Will that do as a connection?)
So that was my experience of second-stage revisions with my publisher… Is it about par for the course, beyond Rebecca being especially lovely and brilliant? Any horror stories out there?