I don’t do this on the blog very often, but I think I have to talk a little about the mechanics behind my upcoming book release. Something happened the other day that really stood out in my mind.
I think I am a slow-on-the-uptake writer. I have my process, and insofar as it works, it works very well–at least, I am deeply immersed in the bliss of it all. But I had a *lot* to learn and it took me a long time to learn it. I wrote seven novels before one was acquired. I struggle with the question, even with all those books in various drawers around the house, of whether I know much of anything about this at all.
And for the novel that was finally bought, there were 18 drafts beforehand. Then 3 more rewrites for my brilliantly amazing/amazingly brilliant editor, plus another superb editor at the house who seemingly magically became part of this road, then a copy edit using track changes, before the hard copy manuscript was FedEx-ed so I could go over page proofs, and then a final minute review of remaining things, until I finally, FINALLY finished editing COVER OF SNOW. I couldn’t have done it without any of the above-named people, not to mention the army in the production department who have a truly unbelievable eye for spelling, syntax, grammar, logic, and details. To give but one example, I got an email from the production editor with the following:
P. 186“A river moves sluggishly through the center of town”Proofer asks if okay to change “through” to “past”“A river moves sluggishly past the center of town”As Troy is all on one side of the Hudson, and Watervliet is across from it.
And they are correct:
We have a dish at my house called Mommy’s Famous Couscous. I think, in reality, this may not be famous. (I mean, have you heard of it?) It’s pretty simple: slivered onions in olive oil, toast the couscous, then finish it all in chicken stock. Anyway, if you try it you may find as I do that it’s a hit with the kids. Even when my son was too little to say couscous, he would ask for it. He called it: tiny things. As in, Can I have more tiny things?
The eye for accuracy, combined with the sense of language, the editorial passion someone has to have to read a sentence like that and know (or think to look up) that the Hudson river, strictly speaking, does not go through Troy, but past it, amazes me.
The investment in making one single book the best it can possibly be is humbling. And to that genius proofer, whose name I haven’t even yet learned, thank you so much.
For caring about the tiny things.