Friday, March 9, 2012
The Writing Life: Proof Pages
This morning I'm going over the second pass pages of The RECKONING. I thought my editorial involvement with this book was over, and there's a certain mental relief that comes with that, for a writer. But the pages came back a few days ago.
Let me digress a moment to talk about the publishing process, at least the one I'm familiar with as I'm sure it's a little different at every publishing house. After the writer and editor agree on a final version of the manuscript, it gets sent to the typesetters. The next time the writer sees the book is when the typeset pages come back, and you get an opportunity to go through them and make sure you're happy with them. The idea here isn't just to catch typos but to make any changes to the story that you deem necessary. These pages go back to the publisher and the changes typed in, and then you get the first pass pages.
At this point, you should really only be looking for typos and minor changes. But it's also your last chance to make substantive changes, though I get the impression that it's slightly bad form to make too many changes. Not one to worry about appearances, I went ahead and made substantive changes.
Which is why I've received the second pass pages.
As I mentioned, I'd convinced myself that the book was put to bed and I could now direct all my attention to writing book three, so getting the pages required a mental adjustment. Not that I'm displeased to see the book, but proofing 350 pages is a big job. It's a little like having your college graduate show up at your doorstep unexpectedly, looking for you to cook his favorite meals and do his laundry. It has its benefits, too, and I'm seeing little things to carry over in The Descent, little references and whatnot that will enrich the trilogy.
But I can't help thinking about the book I had to step away from, fussing and mewling like an infant, needing all my attention to help it grow.