sleep, my darling, sleep

I have arrived!  I am referring, of course, to the existence of my book’s Amazon page.  Pretty neat.  It is a little odd that a book that won’t exist for another nine months is already on sale.  Yet here it is–already discounted!  More internet excitement: there is now a little blurb about me up on my publisher’s website, complete with author photo.

A couple of weeks ago, I took my Master’s exam and managed to pass it–though by how much depends on which professor you ask.  The response ranged from “good job!” to “perfunctory and pro-forma.”  Yes, the latter is a direct quote.  I kind of like it, actually; it’s so rhythmic and alliterative.  Perhaps I should write a poem titled “Perfunctory and Pro-forma.”  Anyway, as the undergrads say, D is for Diploma.  So, I am a Master–but not a Doctor–of Literature.  I think that means I get to order Literature around and tell it to make me a sandwich, but I can’t write it a prescription for antibiotics if it starts to cough up blood.

Two days after taking the exam, I received the copyedits for 13 rue Thérèse, and have been eyeball-deep in them ever since.  I was asked by a friend what the difference is between edits and copyedits, so I figure I should explain it here.  Edits have to do with aesthetic or characterization concerns.  An edit will say something like, “that peanut butter metaphor in Chapter 12 needs more work,” or “can you set a scene in flashback to explain why the protagonist is so traumatized by cucumbers?”  Compared to copyedits, they are big-picture stuff.  Copyedits operate on a level of excruciating detail.  They say stuff like, “are you sure you want to use that adjective?  You just used it five pages ago,” or “insert comma here.”  And there are like eight million of them on every page; the manuscript is absolutely covered in little green hieroglyphs questioning the smallest of your decisions.  They are the most existential-crisis-inducing thing ever.

Copyedits make you say things like, “YOU CAN PRY THAT M-DASH OUT OF MY COLD, DEAD HAND.”

(It’s all right, my precious m-dash, no one will harm you–sleep, my darling, sleep).

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6 responses to “sleep, my darling, sleep

  1. As an author, how much control do you have over the final product? Do you have the power to flat out refuse certain edits/suggestions? Or only if you can justify your refusal extremely well?

    • I can refuse. When I do so, I give my reasons. Some arguing might ensue during which they try to talk me into following their suggestion, but if I still say no they will not steamroll me. They are nice like that.

  2. Thanks for the explanation, dearie…so excited for you and your Amazon page :-)

  3. yay! you have definitely arrived. :)

    (and for some reason, your blogfeed isn’t showing up on my blog reader–i keep missing your posts unless i stop by).

  4. A great blog, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the book. As a fellow debut novelist currently savoring the great mix of joy and high anxiety, it’s nice to read another’s experiences with the journey. Congratulations to you.

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