Monday, April 20, 2009
Proofs, galleys, first pages...
That's what I have been busy with the past week or two. For The Last Stormlord
They are all pretty much the same thing - the last pass where you get to the book pretty much as it will be printed - but in large sheets. This time it was sent to me in a pdf file and I am reading it online; the first time I have done that, and I hope I see all the mistakes doing it onscreen.
In days gone by, if the author made too many alterations at this stage she had to pay for them, because it was extra work for a typesetter. Insert a word, and that could mean a line of type had to be physically moved (you, know, as in physically lifted with one's hands) to the next page, which in turn had to be physically adjusted, and so on through to the end of the chapter. Insert a paragraph and the changes could go all the way to the end of the book.
Nowadays that's a thing of the past, but still, one tries not to make any unnecessary alterations at this stage.
Oh, but you should see the necessary alterations!!
For a start there always seem to be things that don't translate very well between Word (used by me the author) and whatever programme the publisher uses. In this case, the MS seems to have lost its em dashes.
And then there are all the mistakes I never see until I have an actual what-you-see-is-what-you-get copy in front of me.
Others - most - only appeared when I did the copy edit, i.e. when I was correcting previous mistakes. Sigh.
Did I really write "Here that whining?"
Did I not notice that half the time I wrote "mud-brick", and the other half "mud brick"?
How come I never noticed that I referred to the hero by the wrong name at one point and made nonsense of a whole paragraph?
Or that I repeated the same noun three times in two lines?
Or that I made a mistake in the chapter heading?
And then there was the worst mistake of all. In the last couple of pages of the book, one of the protagonists is yelling defiance at his enemies, and he says something that I absolutely don't want the villains to know because it would make nonsense of a large part of the plot in book two.
Whew. I am glad I caught that one.
But it makes me worry about all the mistakes I might not have seen...
However the good news is this:
The Last Stormlord went through some really shaky stages. There were times when I despaired. The hero wasn't heroic. The plot had holes. The writing lacked oomph.
There were wonderful beta readers who came to my rescue.
There were many, many hours spend battling the book as if it was a recalcitrant puppy to be trained.
There was an excellent copy edit.
And the end result? I think it is great. Finally. I love these characters. I love the world they inhabit. I feel for them as they struggle to survive against appalling odds. They love, they laugh, they pick themselves up and move on as disaster and evil stalk them...
The Last Stormlord rocks.
Coming in September in Oz.
March for UK and US.