I finished copyedits for FOUL PLAY ON WORDS 10 days before the deadline … yay, me!
My production editor mailed me a paper copy of my manuscript that she already triaged for the most egregious mistakes I made. (She also emailed me this as a PDF so I could see what she corrected. I should use this as a learning tool, but I prefer to live in a world of denial.)
She also emailed me a Word document with her comments highlighted. Most of these were questions and clarifications, places where I might have contradicted myself, instances where she was confused by something I said.
In the photo, you can see the page proofs in front of my computer. Each page is set up like how it will look in the actual book. On the screen is the Word Doc with her comments.
I noted where her first comment was, then read on my paper copy from page one up to that comment. If I had any changes I wanted to make (typos or changing a word or phrase), I wrote them in pencil on my paper copy. When I got to her comment, I dealt with it, again, writing any changes on my paper copy.
This time I was smart. I also wrote the online page number on my paper copy because it’s never the same, a problem I grappled with during copyedits for FICTION CAN BE MURDER. Often, she’ll have the same continuity issue in several places in the Word doc. If I make the change on page 47, but it also comes up on page 112 and 163, I will have to search and search for that change. This time, I was working on the paper copy so I could fix all three pages up front. This was a little flash of brilliance on my part. (It would really be something to brag about if I’d remembered to note in her comments on pages 112 and 163 that I’d already taken care of them so when I got there I wouldn’t be, you know, searching and searching. We live. We learn. Hopefully.)
So I did that all the way through; reading the paper copy, responding to the online notes and making other changes along the way.
This took me 14 hours and 40 minutes, over 5 days from December 17 – December 27, 2018.
Then I typed all the changes from my paper copy into the Word doc with her notes, again, making tweaks as I went. I’m sure I made new and exciting mistakes as well.
This took me 3 hours and 30 minutes, on December 27th and 28th.
Then I let it sit for a couple of days while I drank heavily.
On December 31, 2018 I started early and read the whole thing on my laptop while sitting in my living room. That’s really the only way to catch flow, pacing, continuity, and echo problems. Again, I made some minor changes as I read.
This took me 6 hours and 20 minutes. Because it’s careful reading that requires a lot of concentration, and because my butt goes numb, I got up and moved around every hour when my timer dinged.
I wrote the dedication and the acknowledgments, checked the bio they already had, and then sent it off.
In a couple of weeks my production editor will look at all the new brilliance and harm I’ve done to the manuscript, deal with everything she needs to, and then send me a new copy. I’ll have a chance to read it over one last time, but I’ll only have a few days to do so before it goes into production.
For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the timeline for FOUL PLAY ON WORDS —
The first draft was written in 20 days between October 3 – November 4, 2016.
- 163 pages
- 43,907 words
- 41.25 hours
- 1,065 words per hour, average
- 2 hours per day
The first edit was done in 6 days between November 7 – 29, 2016.
- 12 hours
- 2 hours per day
I typed in all the changes over 4 days (7 hours total) between November 29 – December 2, 2016.
I let it rest, then re-read it and made more changes over 3 days (6 hours total) between December 7 – December 9, 2016.
Then I really let it rest while I recovered from spinal surgery and got FICTION CAN BE MURDER ready to launch (April 2018).
I picked it up again on January 8, 2018 and did another revision over 13.5 hours and called it done on January 12, 2018.
“Done,” of course, being an ambiguous term in the writing world. It’s also why I always laugh when people ask, “How long did it take to write your book?”
But it’s up for pre-order now and will be published on April 8, 2019!