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Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 21:29:33 +0000
Subject: The Whole World 7

Here is the latest news about the progress of The Whole World through
publication. (As always, let me know if you’d like to be removed from
the list…)

The manuscript for The Whole World is entering a new stage, and I’m
simultaneously reworking the outline for book 2. Lots of stresses are
behind me, and I feel great!

Last Content Edit

I was given my last editorial letter (the third) just before Christmas.
It was my goal to finish that round on the manuscript before Gavin’s
fortieth birthday at the end of January, so we could relax on our family
weekend in Paris. I did it! (With the help of three or four “all
nighters” which I am way too old for 😉 I sent the revised manuscript
to my agent for review first, and she adored it, so I was really happy
sending it on to my editor.

NY Times

The next big push was that the New York Times “Great Homes” website
asked to take pictures of our house (as part of an “Americans in
England” series) and offered to mention the book. I wanted to say yes
for the book’s sake; the writer said that she’ll later shop a magazine
article about the house to coincide with the book’s launch in 2010. But
that meant an intense amount of tidying/cleaning/hiding-of-clutter
needed to take place. Hooray for Mom! She flew here two weeks ago, and
played with the kids while I got everything ready. I moved all of us
into guest rooms, and made the central part of the house off-limits for
four days. The photo shoot went just great. I’ll let you all know when
the article is online.

Valentine’s Weekend

Mom was still here, so I got to get even more stuff done. I attended an
all-day class on the ceremonies of Cambridge University, held at the
nearby manor house Madingley Hall. There were lots of tea breaks and
very nice people, but the lectures themselves focused on college
coats-of-arms and the minute differences between academic robes
depending on college and degree level. It was as boring as it sounds.
But I did a lot of work on book 2’s outline while the information droned
around me.

Then Gavin picked me up and we went to a Thai cooking class held at
another manor house and then to a B&B for the night. Our romance
continued the next day, as we drove all over the fens looking for where
book 2’s body should be dumped 😉 We had to take county lines, water
flows and the timing of fen floods into account, and that was really,
really fun.


Tonight, I heard back from my editor and he’s ready to move on to line
edits. Hooray! That means I’m pretty much done with big changes and new
scenes. Now it’s all nitty-gritty about how to express what’s already
there, though not over things quite so small as the copy edit will
cover. As always, I cringe when he refers the current state of the
manuscript as the “latest draft.” I think that, editorially, anything
other than what goes to print is considered an incomplete “draft,” but
to a writer that word has the connotation of something that’s still a
mess in need of serious overhaul. I shudder when he says that! Anyway,
I’ll get a colorfully marked up manuscript back from him next month, and
will have the chance to accept, decline or otherwise respond to his
various suggested changes. In the meantime, I hope to get the new
version of book 2’s outline finished and to my agent.

A year ago, I’d hoped that book 2 itself would be finished by now! But
the comments from my agent and acquiring editor about its original
outline (which I handed in last year), and the experience of editing
book 1, have matured my view on the story. I’m happy to be where I am. I
think my new insights into these recurring characters and into the
story-creation process itself are shaping the story into a better one
than it would have been if I’d been writing it even six months ago.
First novels often come much from a writer’s instincts, and it can be
hard to figure out what made it “good.” I think I’m getting a better
handle on that, and that helps me decide how to approach book 2.

PS–Apologies that my website is not really up to much at the moment.
Until the edits are final, I can’t provide any content, even the trailer
(which contains book text). And there’s little sense in fussing over it
aesthetically until I get cover art to play off of. Some things–like
the trailer–are still *there*, just not linked from the front page.
I’ll let you know when I update the site.



From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."