My big achievement for today was hiding a picture of myself behind the door on my “about me” page. Trust me, considering my technological ineptitude, this is indeed an achievement. I also made a little icon of my book cover for my sidebar that links directly to my novel’s Amazon page. If I were truly virtuous, it would link to a page that read “be good and buy me from a struggling independent bookstore!” But, I am not that virtuous.
Oh–I almost forgot: I also added my twitter feed to my sidebar. Yes, I signed up for twitter. My editor told me to, and because I am a befuddled virgin author, I acquiesced. 140 characters is bloody short. It’s an interesting exercise in editing though. So far I’ve managed to avoid using “2” for “to” or other internety abbreviations that raise my old, obsolete hackles. I’ve also managed to avoid steering the horseless carriage as it frightens me and I do not enjoy it. (Dude, I’m totally serious. I don’t drive. I’m sure at some point I will have to remedy this situation. At some point. But I am very gifted at procrastination.)
I continue on with my new novel, In the Red. Although it appears that for every page I produce, I must delete two. I have a plot, but I do not have a structure. I also have a taciturn protagonist, who is a rather stark contrast from my dear, voluble Trevor. It appears she will not disclose anything unless I ask her directly. So, progress is slow.
I am also in the thick of reviewing typeset pages for 13 rue Thérèse. They look really pretty, although in a lot of places the typesetter misunderstood my instructions so extravagantly that it makes me want to lie down and whimper softly to myself. Sigh. The galleys will contain the errors as there will not be enough time to correct them before they are printed. Double sigh.
Typeset pages are a much different animal than manuscript pages. For one thing, I must limit my editing as much as I can in order to make as little extra work as possible for the typesetter. I’ve only changed one word here or there; the time for extensive edits is over. I’m having a lot of conversations with myself that look like this:
“Oh that paragraph is terrible! We must delete it immediately.”
“Ssssshh calm yourself. Maybe no one will notice.”
“Well, I hope to God nobody quotes it in a review.”
A typeset text is literally set. It’s like lava that’s solidified into rock. If you want to change it you have to whip out a chisel, because the stage of flux has ended. It’s hard to describe the transformation. It’s not my manuscript anymore; it’s now part of the collective record. Everything that went into the text is subsumed within it. The people who inspired the characters are now gone from inside them; only the characters remain. The sources are immortalized; the sources are expunged. The text is dead; long live the text.
Sweep away the ash and lay your hand on rock that was once liquid and hot enough to burn you away into the barest wisp of nothing. From red to black, the flow froze into these furrows and whorls you can follow with your finger. Yes, if you like you can follow them up all the way to the dark gash whence they came. If you like you can make yourself dizzy looking down into the fathomless deep, but be careful. If the earth starts to tremble, you won’t have much time.