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...