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Friday, September 12, 2008

Guest Post: Pulling Weeds from Joy Nash

Not only am I lucky enough to be giving away a copy of her book due out SOON, but Joy Nash has agreed to do a guest post for today!!!! :) Thank you so much Joy!!! :)

Remember today is the last day to enter to win Immortals: The Crossing!!!! Sign ups close at midnight tonight and the winner will be posted tomorrow!!!! There are still more chances to win though, make sure to visit Joy's site and check out the list of people who will be giving away more copies!!! :) 50 Books in 50 Days!!!

And without further ado:

Pulling Weeds by Joy Nash

We didn’t have much rain around here in July and August, but recently we got torrential downpour. So I figured it was a good time to get into the jungle that I was pretending was my flower garden and pull some weeds. The thistles, especially, were getting me really nervous. They had pretty purple flowers on them—which only meant that they were getting ready to drop about a bejillion seeds. Now, the thistle might be the national weed…er, flower… of Scotland, and I might write books set in that wonderful country, but that in no way means that I want thistles to take over my garden. And anyway, the thistles in my garden are Canadian thistles, not Scottish ones.

But I digress. I went out to the garden and pulled and pulled, then pulled some more. And it was looking good—especially compared to how it looked before. But there was no way I was going to be able to pull up every last weed. At some point, I had to let go of absolute perfection.

This is tough for a perfectionist like me. But it’s only a fact of life that perfection doesn’t exist, and it’s much easier to let the garden weeding end than it is to pry the final, edited proofs of my manuscript out of my clenched fingers. Just one more read through---please! I just know I’ll find another typo that my editor and several line editors and copy editors missed. Or that little inconsistency that somehow made it through all the scrutiny.

This is how it works: I finish a manuscript and do a “final” read-through. Usually a couple critique partners and my husband read it, too. Everyone finds mistakes. While I’m fixing them, I usually find a couple more. I reluctantly turn in the manuscript to my editor, hopefully before my deadline. She suggests some changes or clarifications. After I do, the manuscript goes to several copy editors who comb the work for typos and inconsistencies. The finished product is typeset, then the page proofs are sent to me and to a last professional reader. When the page proofs come, I eye them with complete unease. I only have two weeks to turn them back in. Usually I avoid looking at them for the first week. Then I realize that if I don’t read them through, I’ll have to turn them back in unread, and a mistake I might have fixed would be published. Ugh.

You would think that by this point the thing would be perfect. But there’s no such thing. Just like in the garden, there are some weeds that get by. Here are some of the errors I’ve found in my final, typeset page proofs: General typos, like words that should be capitalized, but aren’t, or (horrors!) a misspelled or misplaced word. And then there are minor inconsistencies, like in one book where a secondary character described in the beginning of the book with one eyes of one color, and somehow managed to change by the end of the book. (I was very glad I caught that one!) Or another time when a character dropped her cloak in one place, and then picked it up in a totally different location after an intervening scene. I happy to say I’ve yet to find a really major mistake in my final proofs. Thank goodness.

In almost every published book I read written by someone else, I end up noticing some typo or other small error. Or one character calls another by a third character’s name. Sometimes I notice a bigger error, and I wonder how something like that got by so many eyes. But it happens, I know—authors read their own book so many times while writing it that it gets harder and harder to bring an objective eye to it. Editors are insanely overworked and will inevitably miss something. No book leaves the printer’s in perfection.

So when I read, I just do what I hope my neighbors will do when they walk past my garden—look at the flowers and realize the author did the best she could with the weeds.

5 comments:

Tameka said...

I love the Immortals series and I am so trying to win a book from Joy Nash I fell in love with Mano's character and I want to read his story. Lol

Rebekah E. said...

I can't wait for this book to come out. I can't wait to read it.

Raonaid Luckwell said...

I know how people feel. I can't wait to read this book too. I just finished Redeeming not that long ago so I'm ready for this one.

Mac's character was awesome

Cathy said...

I enjoyed this series and am really looking forward to this story.

lrwirum said...

I love this series. Looking forward to this one and the rest coming out. :-)


Larena