Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Brief Detour

A brief detour from discussing contests. In the course of 3 days, I got first round edits, second round edits, cover art request forms, blurb forms, dedication forms, excerpt forms … all the things that go along with writing. Things I hadn't given a lot of thought. Like having to track changes, accepting or rejecting deletions and insertions, making comments, deleting comments. A simple switch from quotes to italics was a three-step process to say I agreed. And then there were all the trademark searches. That was a new one. I did discover a company name I made up actually existed, though, so I changed it.

My editor's in Australia, so we are rarely able to communicate back and forth at the same time. I was nervous about opening the first edit files, having no idea what to expect. Lots of changes? Or what might have been worse – no changes. I knew the story couldn't be perfect. Many of her changes were formatting. A few were because she speaks Aussie and I speak American, and there are some things that make perfect sense to an American reader that seem wrong down under—and vice versa. A few were amazing catches. I've rewritten the story so many times, made so many cuts (it was 143,000 words in its first POS draft stage, and is about 89,000 now) but I knew the story so well that I didn't notice where I'd cut out bits where Colleen told Randy she would call her brother. Or that I forgot to give Sarah a washcloth, but had her use it. Everything turned around so fast, between being put on the production spreadsheet and going to final edits, that it amazed me anyone could do that meticulous a read. Kudos to Helen for her eagle eyes and brain that can hang onto an entire novel.

Since Cerridwen is sticking with Finding Sarah as the title, I had to write a 200 word max blurb bringing out the mystery/suspense angle. Then, to select the excerpt that would hook without giving away too much of the plot. Opening pages? First time h/h see each other? Inciting incident? I think it took longer to decide which section to use than to write the words in the first place.

Cover art – something to make it look like a mystery/suspense. I'd heard great things about Cerridwen involving authors in the process, and their 2 page form brought that home. Of course, the Art Department has the last word, but they now know what my h/h look like, what images I think are important, what other covers I like, what elements I don't like.

It's all very exciting, and they're telling me that if things run smoothly, line edits and cover might be done by mid-November.

You can read a little more on my website. Click on "coming soon."

Back to contests next time.

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