This week I’m going over the final copy edits on my novel, Tumblin’ Dice (and just to continue Dave’s post from yesteray, to be published March 1st, 2012. Here’s a little more about it and here’s the Amazon page .
If you’ve read any of my books you know it’s not an easy job for a copy editor. I try to let the characters tell the story and, like me, many of them have only a loose grasp of grammar and punctuation (it turns out I have no idea when to use a dash and only a vague idea what a comma is for). Sometimes I think the mistakes work well to get across the voice and the feel of what I’m after and sometimes they’re just mistakes. The copy editor can’t know which is which so she has to mark them all – five, six, ten per page. I’ve worked hard over the years to improve my spelling (and spell check sure helps) but sometimes the copy editor catches things like the “Northern Lights Theatre” is actually spelled “Theater” and the Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore is actually spelled “Rams Head Live” with no apostrophy (even, as the copy editor noted, “if it kills me”). She even corrected my mixing up the porn stars Bree Olson and Bobbi Starr in the Scooby Doo parody.
And this is just the copy editing after I’ve had meetings with my editor and gone over the entire manuscript and followed (some of) his suggestions.
And this after my “first readers” read the manuscript and gave some very good suggestions.
And this is after I first proposed the book to the publisher and we talked about what direction it would take, how closely it might be tied to the previous books and what characters might be in it and I followed a lot of his advice.
And this is after I bored my wife for months talking about, “this idea for a book about a rock band from the 70’s who get back together and play the casino circuit.”
So, while the sitting down and writing is solitary (and now that I’m a grumpy old man that means no music, no internet, no distractions at all), the production of a book could have a credit list very similar to that of a movie or TV show. When my first book was published I joked that I didn’t want to have an acknowledgement page because I’d either have to leave so many people out or it would be as long as the book itself.
A long time ago I took courses in Creative Writing at Concordia University and for a while I was in a writers’ group.
So, for me, writing has always been a pretty social activity. What about you, are you in a writers’ group? Do you have people who read and critique your work? How social is writing for you these days?