Thursday, May 20, 2010

Last chance saloon

For the past week or so I have been deep in Proofreading Purgatory. The page proofs for Entangled arrived. This means the manuscript has been typeset and is now laid out like a real, live (OK, not technically 'live') book. It's very cool to see your words looking so book-like, and definitely makes the whole Oh-my-God-I'm-getting-a-book-published thing seem more real.

Reading Entangled for the thousandth time was an interesting experience. And by 'interesting', I mean 'anxiety-inducing'. This was my last chance to spot mistakes, woeful word choices, unnecessary sentences. My red pen was put to good use, and I started off putting little post-its at the top of each page where I wanted something changed. By the time I'd reached the end of the book, I'd run out of post-its (three times), and realized it would have perhaps been more sensible to post-it the pages I DIDN'T want changed. Ho hum.

The experience caused the following facial expressions/actions:

1. Appreciative nodding (on reading a few of my favourite bits)
2. Wincing (A LOT of wincing. This was when the red pen did its finest work)
3. Full-on cringing (only a couple of times, but WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE THESE BITS BEFORE?! WHY DID NO-ONE TELL ME?! Maybe they were too embarrassed)
4. Eyebrow-raising (for no particular reason. It's just something I do)
5. Crying a little bit (there are sad bits in my book. They still make me cry, which is a good thing, right?)

All in all, a pretty draining experience. I have no doubt that if I started reading it again today, the red pen would be itching to do its thing. I don't think I will ever be able to read this book without wanting to change something. Other writers tell me this is 100% normal, so that's a relief. I suppose that's partly why we keep writing - to make the next book better than the last one.

Next stage: bound proofs/ARCs...


  1. Hee, I absolutely love this post. I can imagine your expressions as you go along. :-) But my friend, it's exciting, and as this is the first big one, you really should savour it all. So in a few months time it will be old hat.

  2. Aw, thanks Liz! Doing my best to savour each little stage on the loooong road to publication.

  3. I'll be completely worth it when you see your book on the shelves. Enjoy it! (Well, try, anyway!)

  4. Oh, those feelings are SOOOO familiar!!

  5. I have a feeling I will be exactly the same, I am the queen of the red pen!! You're doing great Cat and it WILL all be worth it! :)

  6. Yay! Yay! Yay! This is so exciting! Your book is nearly ready. *Squeals* I need that page 15....

  7. This is so exciting!!!!!! You're that much closer to it being a bound book!

    And I'm just the same way. My red pen wants to come out _whenever_ I read anything I write, published included. Will this ever end, I wonder? I really wonder.

  8. Eventually you get to the stage where you actually can't bear to read the book at all...just about at the time when other people are beginning to read it. I'm wondering if that wears off after a while. Or is it just me?

  9. I can't wait to read Entangled!!! *gets excited*