I’m sitting here in a skirt.* Yes! A skirt! A real live skirt! And it’s not my birthday or Peter’s birthday or even a hellcritter’s birthday! We just randomly went out to dinner tonight!!!! It’s so exciting! **
Well, not quite randomly. It’s a 26th. I’ve told you that if we feel the need of a celebration creeping over us we’ll try to fend it off till the next 26th or 3rd, those being our two official monthly opportunities for festivities.***
So we were feeling festive. So we went to The Bard and Orpharion and ate duck leg confit and drank champagne (me) and Chilean merlot (Peter). And we took a pack of cards with us and dealt bridge hands and then Peter got all interested about how we would play them. Eeep. Did I tell you I did, in fact, survive my second bridge lesson last weekend? I mean with two other people so we were, like, pretending that I could play bridge? And I keep saying that I have the wrong shape of brain for bell ringing. Well, I do. But at least bell ringing doesn’t make you guess what the other ringers are going to do next and the winning and losing aspect is a little more tactfully obscured. Arrrgh.
* * *
* Furthermore I’m sitting here writing an evening blog post at the cottage. With my feet propped up on the front of the Aga and an acute and sublime awareness that I’ve already done the coming-home thing with three hellcritters and a ridiculous amount of kit^ and don’t have to do it again tonight.
^ A gigantic knapsack plus a bulgy canvas carryall briefcase thing.
** You mean . . . some people just go out to dinner? I’ve been living in a small town in Hampshire with too many hellcritters for too long and I’m losing track of modern cultural mores.^
^ And we won’t even discuss modern technological mores. My editor’s poor assistant wasted kind of a lot of perfectly good time and air space explaining some of SHADOWS’ copyeditor’s more arcane (and sometimes invisible) marks to me. Like the one that made it look like she’d spelled Haydée Haydé. (Maggie has read THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO.) ARRRRRRRRGH. Worrying about this sort of thing keeps authors awake at night. It’s your name on the book jacket. To publishing hopefuls still working toward their first sale of course this sounds like the MOST THRILLING THING EVER.+ To those of us it has happened to, while it’s still totally worthwhile and I don’t want any other job++, there is indubitably a mixed-blessing aspect. Like when people get really angry with you because pages 35-60 in their copy are repeated and 61-86 are missing and when you tell them that you’re sorry but it’s nothing to do with you, to take it up with your publisher, they think you’re blowing them off and become abusive. Or they want to know why you haven’t made movies of your books, don’t you know that’s where the money is? Um. Well, that’s where the money is for the few, not for the many, and very, very, very, very, VERY rarely for any writer involved . . . not to mention that this isn’t up to me either. But the proofreading mistakes? Totally yours. The thing is, they’re at least half right about that. Your publisher hires eagle-eyed professional proofreaders, but you see the final pages too. Occasionally some hideously embarrassing botch creeps through the gauntlet of all those searchlight eyes and appears in all its malign glory in the finished book+++. But usually it’s something that’s gone wrong in the process somewhere, like a full stop dropping out or quotation marks curling in the wrong direction or a half sentence disappearing at the bottom of a page. Even the missing full stop will haunt your dreams, once you’ve noticed it, or had it pointed out to you, AND YOU SHOULD HAVE CAUGHT IT IN PROOFREADING. BUT YOU DIDN’T BECAUSE YOU ARE A MORON.# AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. It would have been a really good book if it weren’t for that missing full stop. As some reader, somewhere, will tell you.
I am not looking forward to proofreading SHADOWS. I will miss the quotation marks curling in the wrong direction and the use of ‘their’ when it should have been ‘there’. Which will be lacerating enough. But what will be worse is discovering THAT ENORMOUS FRELLING PLOT HOLE that it’s now way way way too late to do anything about.##
+ Even more thrilling than randomly going out to dinner.
++ Not least because I’m pretty sure I’m unemployable by any normal standard
+++ Regular readers of author blogs will know that there is a LAW OF THE UNVERSE that says that any author opening any first copy of any new book—I mean that author’s new book—must open it on a page with a proofreading error on it. I get around this by not reading my stuff once it’s published. I can’t read it anyway. It’s a sort of combination effect, like psychic eczema, migraine, and being trapped in a stuck lift/elevator with a bore. A pedantic bore. A smelly pedantic bore. And the smelly pedantic bore has a large smelly dog who doesn’t like me.
# You are a moron who, furthermore, has looked at these insanely annoying words in this beyond-insanely annoying order WAY too many times AND CAN’T LOOK AT THEM ANY MORE.
## You can make limited editorial changes at the proofreading stage, with an emphasis on the limited. If you go over a certain short sharp maximum your publisher will charge you for it. If you want to make real structural changes . . . I think they gag you and lock you in a closet till the book is safely out. I don’t know. I don’t want to know.
*** For new readers or old readers who have better things to remember: The Beginning was when I met this fellow Peter Dickinson, whom I knew slightly from book conventions and things, at the Bangor, Maine airport, to bring him back to Blue Hill for a weekend’s exposure to life in a small New England town. This was on 26 July, twenty-one and a half years ago. We got married the following 3rd of January. I’m not young and Peter is old, and when we decided to do this thing, Peter said that there weren’t enough years left for a sufficiency of anniversaries so we needed to celebrate some monthlies as well. So we do.
I think it is weird to have Valentine’s Day during Lent. I know there is some kind of history to St Valentine—starting with the fact that there are several of them—and St Valentine’s day as February 14th is based on when some unfortunate St Valentine was martyred, possibly in one of those exceptionally creative ways that the killers of future saints seem to go in for, and which is why I’d just as rather not look it up. But romantic soppiness for Valentine’s Day started with Chaucer, right? That’s a long time ago—and well before that Henry fellow came along and invented the Anglicans who maybe don’t take Lent quite so hard—I don’t see Henry fasting, do you? And maybe Valentine’s Day doesn’t usually come during Lent. Still. Weird.*
Fortunately I’m not giving up flowers or presents from my husband, so the posy by my plate today was totally welcome.
But I want to see Sid’s reaction to the HOUSE! Maybe skip a detail on two – it’s been so l-o-o-o-ng since Kes and Hayley were at Rose Manor. Pretty please?
It doesn’t work that way. While I love watching you forumites guess and debate, in the first place I’m ten or fifteen eps ahead of what I’m posting and in the second place The Story Is The Story even when I’m presenting it in this nonstandard way. I can’t go back and jigger with the pacing before I hand it in to my editor, you know? And as a reader I’ve always liked the details so it’s not surprising that as a writer I tend to put ’em in. Some of my single-mindedness is no doubt natural perversity, but it’s also the only way I’ve ever been able to write anything—by listening to the Story and shutting everything else out. These people who send out their first or second drafts for feedback. . . . Shudder. Obviously it works for them. I’d rather retrain as a telephone lineperson. And I’m afraid of heights.
Oooh! Are those runes on the collar I wonder?
I think it is safe to say they are not a company logo. Poor Kes’ problem is that she hasn’t yet realised—despite Mr Melmoth, Watermelon Shoulders, and burgundy velvet—that she’s in a fantasy novel.
And apparently Kes’ mother had one or two good points, at least when it came to looking after dogs.
Yes. I’d love to meet Kes’ mum—er, mom—myself. I have no idea if she’s as dire as Kes makes her out to be. Kes is understandably peeved at her reaction to Kes’ divorce, but I don’t think she’d have dragged her daughter to all those dog shows if the daughter really really didn’t want to go. And she did send her to horse camp. Which is expensive, and there wasn’t a lot of money around.
beneath the exterior of screaming skulls there beat the heart of a plastic roller skate
Oh, thank you, thank you. It makes my day when someone laughs at my jokes.
I am very intrigued that it’s not quite the same ‘Sid’ on the other side of the ‘whateveritis’. And maybe not quite the same ‘Kes’ either? She clearly has a different wardrobe but I wonder if her physical appearance is the same in both worlds.
I don’t know either. I assume we’ll find out. —You can see why I try to keep some eps ahead. It is VERY UNSETTLING sending stuff out there in public when I don’t know what’s going on or what’s going to happen. Granted I have more idea than you do—and some stuff to aim at, or maybe I mean a few stepping stones in the quaking bog—but I don’t know nearly enough.
I do like how Kes seems to freak out so calmly. It’s a skill I could use.
Oh, glory, me too. (There are a number of ways in which KES is purest, sheerest wish fulfilment.) Although I think she does the screaming and melting down too. But there are moments when stunned disbelief is the only possible response.
So, Kes is now bleeding through to the other side, instead of the other side bleeding through to her… interesting. I like.
And I am very curious about the Topaz version of Sid.
Yup. Me too. See above.
Also, I love that the part that seems to freak her out the most is the wardrobe change.
But . . . but . . . clothing is against your SKIN. All the rest of it could be a massive hallucination, but if you lift your hand and see and feel somebody else’s clothing . . . the hallucination has just rocketed to a whole new horrifying level.
Ok, tell me — was that wonderful horse in the story before the ‘Fair Days’ guest post??
Good heavens, of course. I’ve been horse-mad for fifty-six years (approximately) and have loved the big hairy-footed things from the first time I set eyes on one, which was pretty soon after first exposure. I’ve even schooled a few.
“I’m raving,” I said. I let go of the keys in my pocket
Not literally. But . . . um . . . well, it’s not going to surprise you that Rose Manor has, you know, form, in the living-in-a-fantasy-novel situation, is it?
We still don’t know why Mr. Wolverine is calling…
Nope. We don’t. I have some idea—I know how it begins—but I also have the nervous feeling that this is one of those conversations that isn’t going to go the way I’m expecting it to.
Here’s my guesses: The landlord will turn out to be a smoking hot cool guy (when he finally shows up). His cousin, on the other hand, will probably have something to do with the appearance of Mr. Melmoth.
Well, the cousin and Mr Melmoth are definitely on the same team. The Bad Guy team. And there is a smoking hot cool guy somewhere in the vicinity of Mr Demerara, but I’m not sure whether it’s Mr D himself, his son, his valet, his tame magician or his pet shapeshifting Elasmotherium.
I don’t like the sound of the landlord’s cousin across the lake with a tick-like nature and a fancy old car…bet he’s a snoop. Maybe Sid will bite him, and something dire will fall out of his pocket and prove he’s a serial killer.
‘Why, that looks like Major Klondike’s Foolhardy Conservationist Medal for rescuing six polar bears and a very confused wombat from that ice floe forty years ago! He always wore it! And I haven’t seen him around lately! And what is that wrapped around it? Why, that looks like Sallie Mae’s hair ribbon, from when she was prom queen last spring! And she disappeared right after the prom!’
Clearly Hayley uses the 4-inch-heels for smashing pigeonholes
Have I ever told you anything about DESTINY? It is, theoretically, the third in the non-trilogy of vaguely world-linked novels beginning with SUNSHINE. Which is to say there are vampires (but no Sunshine, and no Con. Calm down). Destiny has an interesting pair of insanely high heels which do some pigeonhole smashing.
I love that Kes is making connections with people. That’s reassuring, even though I suspect things won’t stay nearly so grounded going forward (I’m talking to you, Watermelon Shoulders and Mr. Melmoth).
Heh. And this comment was written before the burgundy-lace-and-Topaz scene. But wouldn’t it be nice if major life changes went more like this, where most of the people you meet are not merely polite and well-disposed but are on your wavelength and have what you need when you need it? Speaking of wish fulfilment. Sigh.
I am contemplating moving to Maine: should I be taking notes, or checking in to a padded cell?
I wish Eats were local!
Well, I do and I don’t. I have enough trouble with both my waistline and what my stomach is prepared to recognise as food, and I think Eats might just make me cry a lot.
I am sooooo wanting to hear more about Mr. Watermelon Shoulders! My curiosity it all a-dither!
He’s cute. I’ll tell you that for free. He’s cuuuuuuuuuute. Well, I think he’s cute. He’s a little challenged in the modern world viewpoint area, but you can put up with a few faults for serious cute.
Sid! (only blonde) http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/lurcherphotos.htm
. . . and a bloke. I don’t think Sid is ever going to look this smooth—Saluki fur is very silky, but Deerhound is wiry, and sticks out in all directions, and a cross between the two could be anything—but we aren’t going to know till she gets fed up and clean. Also an ill- or under-nourished dog’s coat will need to grow out again on good food before you know what it’s going to be. But this is a very handsome dog and I’d totally invite him in and feed him tuna-fish sandwiches.
Not all divorce lawyers are bad/evil/venal.
Oh, of course not! Serena had a really bad experience and Kes and Mr Wolverine are never going to be best friends, but I think he’s good at his job. But Kes has almost no money of her own and doesn’t want to take Gelasio’s, and this attitude frustrates the banana fruitcake out of Mr W.
And now, if you will excuse me, I have to go sing. Kes sings. I don’t yet know how good she is. It’s a ratbag, trying to move on with your wish fulfilment and having the Story periodically getting in your way and saying no, you don’t have that. I don’t care what you want. This is what you have.
* * *
* Note the forum is not barred at the gate against non-Christians. I know of at least two Buddhists who read this blog and a lot of the important people in my life are Jewish, including both Hannah and Merrilee, my best friend and my agent. Many ways up the mountain, as I believe I said last September or shortly thereafter, and I arrived (breathless, with dirty knees and messy hair) in the lap of Christianity by a somewhat nonstandard route besides. I hope anyone who might want to say something from another viewpoint will do so.^
^ The usual Pollyanna caveats apply.
So I wasn’t going to ring bells either yesterday or today. Because I had this book to finish again, in this case dealing with my editor’s queries. This is the stage, I find, where a good 90% of everything you do you throw out. Because the book by this time is pretty much The Book and it doesn’t take kindly to your meddling. I know this going in and therefore morale is not high. Plus there are those delightful moments when your editor—okay, my editor—finds those places where you—I mean I—had a brain spasm and cut out something crucial or inserted a few random phrases while you, I mean I, was under the influence of the Gflytch transmitting station on Venus. And so there’s a little note in the margin saying, um, what is going on here? And you—I mean I—have to do something.
But, you know, my mere career isn’t going to keep me from bell ringing.** But the weather will. Yesterday afternoon I cancelled going to Glaciation that evening because it’s kind of a long way, as I count long ways, and on twisty little back roads, and it was supposed to snow and sleet. Whereupon frelling Niall rang up at about an hour before time, while I was in the throes of chapter divisions***, and started leaning on me to come to the once-a-month practise at Old Eden. ARRRRGH. He knows me too well: my ringing life feels to me chiefly notable for long languishing periods where I don’t actually learn anything either because the practise is too busy and there are too many people that need to get their hands on ropes during the course of the evening, or because the practise isn’t busy enough and can’t provide the band I need—I who only learns by ENDLESS FRELLING GRIND. I therefore really hate the idea of beginners not getting their grinding because there aren’t enough ringers to make a band. So Niall, grinning evilly, picked me up at the mews and brought me in triumph to Old Eden, where Vicky, looking up in surprise, said, Ooh! The cavalry! And while we had eight ringers for six bells . . . only three of us were proper method ringers, Niall and Vicky and me, so yeah, I served a purpose. Oh, and then the weather did not plunge below freezing, the roads stayed dry, and I could have gone to Glaciation after all.
Tonight is the twice-monthly ‘improvers practise’ at Fustian, and I emailed tonight’s ringing master—Bailey and Nestor swap, like Scary Man† and Albert do at the abbey—that I would be there barring sleet. I was there. It did not sleet. And—speaking of grind—they let me ring two plain courses of Cambridge minor which I am going to learn before I die of old age, I am, the problem being the GRIND thing again, how long have I been trying to learn it?? But I don’t get my grind.†† I don’t get my grind, I don’t learn.
There weren’t very many of us tonight, so we were all having a break while Bailey stared thoughtfully at the whiteboard. QP next week, he said.††† Are you here? he said, one by one, to the others assembled. I kept my eyes on the floor, because I’m a visitor. They don’t owe me anything: it’s nice of them to let me come to their practises, but generally speaking you only get invited to ring quarter peals at other towers if you’re good.
A pair of shoes appeared in my field of vision. Robin, are you here next Tuesday? said Bailey.
Eeep, I said. Um. Sure.
Would you like to ring a quarter peal? pursued Bailey.
Um. Sure, I said.
He nodded, and wrote my name on the whiteboard.
WHAT A GOOD THING I’VE FINISHED THE BOOK (AGAIN). Which is to say I don’t think the wretched thing will have been through copyediting by next Tuesday. . . .
* * *
* May I just say I hated the movie. Talk about fear of female power dear loves-both-genders-equally God. A witch who falls in love loses her witchcraft? And the so-called romantic lead decides to take her back WHEN HE FINDS OUT SHE LOST HER POWER WHEN SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM?^ This is my era, okay? It came out in 1958 and I saw it in the late sixties some time when I was a teenager, and was already having trouble with the fact that none of the women on STAR TREK THE ORIGINAL LAUGHFEST ever did anything except show their legs and fall in love, and I had already been marked for life by Walt Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY. Why am I a feminist? This is why.
^ Note that I’ve always loathed Jimmy Stewart anyway. It’s a Wonderful Life makes me throw up. Frelling sue me.
** Or singing. I had my voice lesson yesterday and went in moaning first about not singing in the Muddles’ concert and second about how the halfway okay noise I can (sometimes) make singing exercises—which is a lot of why I like exercises, as I used to like Hanon when I was playing the piano regularly—GOES AWAY as soon as I try to sing a song. Nadia was nodding before I got halfway through this latter plaint. Yup, she said. Normal. Get used to it. And it just goes on like this however good you get. Cecilia Bartoli probably feels exactly the same way.
*** I loathe chapters. If it were up to me there would be no chapters, just line breaks and part one and part two etc if necessary. Like I got away with in SUNSHINE but this doesn’t work very often. And since I don’t write in chapters I have to go back and put them in later. Arrrgh.
† I really have to give poor Scary Man a name.
†† Catherine, on the forum, who wrote two guest blogs about her first experience of bell ringing last September has already rung her first quarter peal inside. ARRRRRRGH. Listen, honey, if you ever come to one of my signings, don’t introduce yourself because I will crush you underfoot with extreme prejudice. First quarter peal INSIDE after FOUR MONTHS? Kill me. Kill me now.
And do goad your conductor into posting it. Your first QP is IMPORTANT!
††† The Tuesday system is two ordinary practises for people like me, one gruesome brain-melting practise for people whose idea of ‘improving’ is something you need a magnifying glass just to read the line in the method book because it wiggles so much, and a quarter peal.
Gibber gibber gibber gibber GLEEEEEP.*
Thank you. But it’s a good thing it’s virtual. I’d be leaving bruises.
Yes. I understand completely.
Sigh. I’m very sorry. Grateful, you know, but sorry.
It’s always like this. “I absolutely love the book and have just a few things I think need tweaking” says Editor (or something like that, except for the time a Former Editor was incredibly snotty & made sure I got an in-house email full of damning with loud damns and no praise at all. Very, VERY Former, that editor.)
And the problem, at least for those of us of a neurotic turn, is that however ex- that editor is, we remember them. We remember them at all the worst possible moments, and we remember them like sitting on a pitchfork. YOW.
But then it turns out that Editor has not grasped the importance of the relationship between A and R, does not understand why you can’t just excise this “slow” paragraph, wants “more background” to something that you backgrounded five chapters before, and what Editor thinks can be done in “just a few hours, really” takes for-blinkin-EVER because every single change changes something else, and you have to think hard about every single one of them, often multiple times.
Yes. This. I also like the probably-looks-perfectly-sensible-from-their-end suggestion that you take Scene W and put it back with Scene B where it more clearly goes. Well. No. In the first place you’re seeing it at W from a different angle than you were at B and furthermore, this world-building thing is a ratbag. You break it up, and lever a little in here and sprinkle a little in there, you should get away with it. You smack W up against B and you have an Expository Lump.
It’s not always clear what Editor meant when deleting a couple of lines (slow? fast? boring? distracting?)
Or—one of my favourites—the tidying-up without comment change of something that was obviously just a careless error. NO. WRONG. IT IS NOT AN ERROR. STET. ARRRRGH.
and thus finding the right fix–or deciding if Editor must’ve been having a coffee break with a dash of something else in it and actually those deleted lines are, as you thought initially, absolutely necessary right there and in those exact words.
Or possibly you and Editor are different species from different galaxies. I think this often. It would be against Editor’s best interests to drive his/her authors to find jobs as bricklayers and taxi drivers, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?** So there has to be some other explanation for the yawning communication chasm.
And this is so with the best Editors in the business. Intelligent, sensitive, skilled readers and analysts…and if they don’t get something, how can readers be expected to?
YES. THIS IS THE THING THAT REALLY KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT. IF AN INTELLIGENT EDITOR, PAYING ATTENTION, DOESN’T GET IT . . . AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH.
And you worked so hard on that in the first place…it’s not like you were a careless, slapdash writer who just tossed those words in to bring it up to its required word count.
Or that scene in. Here you thought that scene was crucial to character development or was the Fabulous Big Reveal about the Mystery of the Heroine’s Talking Footstool.
Revisions are one head-desk and face-palm and blank-stare-at-wall-wondering-if-after-all-you-should-go-back-to-bed-forever
With your knitting. And Green & Black’s. And maybe somebody else’s novel(s).
after another. At best. And I like all my Editors,
::hums to herself:: I have liked most of my editors ::hums to herself some more::
and have had wonderful editors, and the one I have now is very, very good, but….BUT.
Yes. My current one is thoughtful and intelligent and takes pains and laughs at my jokes . . . BUT.
(Green & Black’s comes with peppermint centers? REALLY?)
Well, they do on this side of the pond: http://www.greenandblacks.co.uk/our-range/Bars/Mint?p=2669&c1=1559#first
What’s interesting is that I can’t find this on the American site. Not only is the only mint listed mere paltry mint-oil-infused chocolate, but it’s only 60% whereas my mint-fondant is 70%. If this anomaly is truly what it appears THIS GOES VERY HIGH ON MY LIST OF REASONS TO LIVE IN ENGLAND.
Anyway, condolences, virtual cups of tea or cocoa
Or both. In separate cups. No, in separate large mugs. Or possibly beer steins.
and many and varied small pastries and varieties of dark chocolate. It’s really hard. You’re really struggling. I wish I could make it better.
Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh. . . . .***
* * *
* An editor friend RT’d my tweet of last night’s post. Snork.
** Remembering the old publishing joke: Editing would be a great job if it weren’t for the writers. Yup. And writing would be a great job if it weren’t for the editors.
*** I did break to ring bells this afternoon and go to church this evening.^ There were only eight of us at the former, and we rang some pretty snaggedy Grandsire Triples which depressed everyone but me. I felt positively chirpy because we got through. A very few months ago, if I went off, that was the end. Chances are I’ll struggle back onto my line again now, at least if not more than one other person is going wrong at the same time.
Tonight . . . it was a communion evening, and when the vicar got up to hand the baskets out—we serve each other, so there are little baskets that make their way up and down the rows—he explained blandly that when he’d got the loaf out of the freezer he’d inadvertently pulled out a buttered baguette. Snork. Much better-quality bread than we usually have, but the butter I admit was a little distracting.
^And hurtle an assortment of hellcritters. One of whom is singing in her crate right now. LATER. LATER, drat you.
I’ve had my head down over SHADOWS all day and Have No Brain Left. Final editorial corrections always go like this. The manuscript comes in and I sit there staring at it, hoping maybe it’ll go away or be perfect or something. Manuscripts used to come back from your editor in hard-copy pages with little yellow sticky notes frilling the edges, which was at least a large clearly hairy object, deserving of fear and dismay. It’s harder to have the right sense of mystic dread in response to a computer file. Still, once you open it and start flipping through, looking for virtual yellow stickies in the margins, the dread gland starts secreting its sinister serum. Arrrgh.
So first I do a quick read-through and reassure myself that it’s all doable. Of course it is. My editor does not want me to add twin zebras and a jewel thief. The book is basically fine, that’s FIIIIIIINE and my editor’s queries are thoughtful and valid. I answer a few immediately and feel better. Briefly. Then I start going through the manuscript properly . . .
. . . Somewhere around here I decide that I can’t frelling cope with doing it all on the computer screen, and print the sucker out.** There. Now I have the proper Large Hairy Object, Deserving of Fear and Dismay. And my editor’s notes come up red which is suitably alarming.
But it’s still all doable. Yes. Certainly. Not a problem. So after the first more or less soothing*** read through I go through again more slowly and soberly, pausing thoughtfully over each marginal note, grasping its essence and contemplating my sane, astute, attentive response. This time I also answer all the easy queries. These answers take up a respectable amount of space in a new file† which gives me a spurious sense of being ahead of the game. And then I go through yet again, deciding yay or nay on the slightly complex queries, the more subtle and abstruse ones . . . first read through I hadn’t realised there were any abstruse ones. . . . Which is more or less where it all starts going horribly wrong. The queries aren’t as straightforward as I thought, as I made myself think during the Soothing Read Through. And some of the easy ones . . . maybe aren’t so easy after all. Maybe I should think a little more about some of those easy queries. Maybe I should reconsider the twin zebras. Meanwhile I’m closing in on the genuinely tricky queries, the ones I knew from the beginning were going to cause trouble and require actual work to sort out. The ones that my editor had written me in advance about, which warning I had read with one eye closed thinking yes, yes, I’ll worry about that when the whole manuscript arrives and I can look at it in its entirety. . . .
By the fourth read through the world is disintegrating, both this one containing noisy hellterror puppies and a lot less Green & Black’s dark chocolate with peppermint centres than it did a week ago, and that one containing manic border collies named Mongo and a lot less hot chocolate than it did before the story the book tells began, hot chocolate being the default response to stressful situations in Maggie’s family, and I’m reading the want ads for openings for bricklayers and taxi drivers.
Oh, and corrections are due on the 10th.
* * *
* And Black Riders. Maybe it’s Black Riders I have infesting my computers and my internet connection.
** I hate flipping back and forth in a large document on the computer. I start a new KES every ten episodes or so to keep the flip factor under control.
*** YES. SOOTHING. SOOOOOOOTHING. YOU WILL BE SOOTHED, OKAY?
† Figure out how to answer marginal queries IN THE MARGINS? Are you frelling joking? I can barely open a new file, let alone ditz around with fancy text insertion. I admit that Windows 7 is not quite the galactic-trashing monster I was expecting, and there are a few things I positively like about it, but the fact that it takes twenty-seven clicks and the intervention of a minor saint just to open a new dangleblatted document is not popular with me.