Or, rather, back to the real world after a three-month hiatus working on various edits of my new book. (So much for my promise to blog about the process regularly. I clearly lied.)
Just to update you, here’s what’s been happening since I last posted about writing, which I think was just after I’d submitted the manuscript to my editor after making what’s known as a “developmental” edit. That’s basically where you flesh out characters and scenes more fully, and generally improve the book so that it doesn’t lie flat and dead on the page with nothing truly coming alive.
In my case, this developmental edit was combined with a structural edit, which is where scenes get moved around, cut or extended etc – in other words, fairly big changes are made, and the author often gets outfaced by the scale of the work involved and loses the plot at this stage. I know I do, and my concentration’s not helped by my neighbours’ obsession with knocking down walls at every opportunity – when they’re not hamering the shit out of things for no apparent reason, that is.
Since then, the hammering and wall demolition has lessened a bit (though I bet I’m tempting fate by saying that), and I’ve been able to concentrate on completing a line edit with the help of my editor at Avon Books. That kind of edit focuses on the smaller detail, and is followed by a copy-edit, where the manuscript gets checked for clumsy grammar, spelling errors and factual inaccuracies.
Once both those edits have been completed, the book goes off to production to be typeset and, when it comes back to the author after that, it’s the first time the 100,000 words you’ve been wrestling with for months finally morph into something resembling a real book. That’s always a real buzz, and I’m thrilled with the font that’s been chosen for the titles and chapter headings.
Finally, the typeset proof is proofread – both by the author and a professional proofreader – to pick up any remaining errors, spacing problems etc, and that’s the part I finished dealing with last week.
Now I’m working with my editor on things like the blurb that goes onto the cover, while also waiting for the cover itself to be revealed to me – cue massive excitement, combined with a degree of trepidation.
Covers are worth a whole post on their own, so let’s just say here that it’s super-stressy when you’re waiting to see what your book – the fruit of all those cancelled social events and all that grumpy, batshit-crazy pacing around the house at 3am – will look like when it finally hits the shelves.
That’ll be happening on June 30th, in case you’re wondering…