What I'm reading: The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames.
If you haven't checked in over the weekend, you might not have seen my new blog design yet. I'm going to call it a work in progress, because I haven't figured out how to interpret the "simple" directions provided by Blogger. It's been trial and error more than anything else. My knowledge of HTML consists of being able to put words in italics, bold, or underline them. And I know how to link text to a web URL. That's about it. So when the instructions say, "find this line of code in your template and insert this piece of code, I feel like I'm in Kindergarten. Or worse, because I actually knew most of what they taught us in Kindergarten before I got there. It's more like how I felt in calculus.
I dropped that course second semester, which might not bode well for me getting the blog to behave.
One feature that disappeared was the "keep reading" link. Since I know this created problems for slow-loading browser days, when I saw that Blogger claimed it had a quick and easy (so it said) 'jump link', I … jumped on it. But to use it, you had to change to their new editor. Cringe. New? The old one worked fine most of the time. But I gave it a shot.
Three hours later, after following directions and meeting no success, I perused messages on the help forums, and … the 'fix' seemed to be that the code Blogger inserts when you click that 'jump' link is WRONG. You'd think they'd read the forums themselves and fix it, wouldn't you? Right now, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and I've not been able to see what's different.
Also, I haven't figured out how to do an 'unjump' using their system. So, if you want to collapse the post, you have to hit the back arrow on your browser. Not only that, but it didn't undo the old code, and I don't exactly have time to go back through hundreds of posts and manually change them.
I'm also not sure how uploading pictures will work with the new editor. I might cut back on my illustrations for a while until I figure it out.
Apologies if this creates problems. But my posts tend to be on the long side, and I do like my readers to be able to see the beginnings of at least a week's worth of posts so they can select the ones that look interesting. If you have comments (or answers), I'd love to hear them.
And what does this have to do with writing? Well, I've just finished "final" edits on my manuscript. I'll get it again in galleys, and then in the printed ARC this publisher sends, but the bottom line is they don't want authors to 'fix' things that aren't broken once the book moves down the pipeline. The publisher thought it was good enough to pay for. Then the editor looks at it for repairs. There might be some renovation, some rewriting, but when you turn it back in, you have to resist playing with it.
Maybe you think that stuffed dog should have been a teddy bear, because there's a symbolic connection to another scene in the book. Or maybe the heroine should have been a waitress, not a receptionist, before she met the hero. Or what about that ice cream scene? Did it really add anything?
Hands off. You're not going to please every reader, and the ones you gain by making a dog into a teddy bear will probably balance out those who prefer the dog. Remember, they don't have a crystal ball, and they can't know all the decisions you made for each detail of the book. They see the end product.
If your manuscript is on its way to becoming a book, it's not broken. Go start the next one.
Tomorrow, my guest is Kerrie Flanagan, freelance writer and the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. She's going to be reflecting on simpler times.