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04/27/2009 12:12 PM

Line edits: Ack!

Line edits are much easier than developmental edits, because they don’t require massive rethinkings, new scenes, and tracking down domino effects. But they do require dwelling on very small changes, which is headache-inducing. The more minor a change is, the more I go into a spiral: Why does he think this change is necessary? What was wrong with the original way? How is this way actually different? Why is the word “push” more desirable than “shove” here? What is the difference having this line at the beginning of the paragraph versus the end? And then my head explodes, since there are many hundreds of these small notes and all my decisions are due by Friday. Ack, ack, ack!

Also, I use Open Office on a Mac. Open Office is generally wonderful, but its “track changes” feature isn’t working right for me. This may be a general fault, or it may be because the changes were introduced by my editor in Word. I can see his changes and make my own, but the way the program jumps between changes is maddening. Whenever I accept or reject one of his changes, the program immediately jumps ahead, while I want to look at the change I just made. And the jump? Not to the next change on the list, but to some random future change. So every time I accept/reject, I have to scroll back up to find where I just was so I can look at the darned thing (and sometimes add or alter stuff). Then, when I am ready to move on, I have to scroll back up the track changes list to find what change is actually the next one. This is especially ridiculous when so many edits are pairs (it takes one delete and one add to change one word, for example). I accept the delete and then I’ve suddenly skipped past the related add to some random place. It’s a lot of extra work to control this, and scrolling is not so easy in long documents, since the scrollbar is so cramped.

I am taking a break from the madness to compose this email 🙂

Launch Date

I have a launch date! January 26th, 2010. Not quite set in stone yet, but that’s what they’re thinking.

Pub dates are interesting. Most books are bought in the fall, so most established authors bring out their new books in the fall. Because of the competition, that period is not so good for debut authors. Summer is next best for sales, because of the “beach books” phenomenon.
But, coming out in the winter, when fewer books are bought, means that it takes fewer sales to stand out. So that can be an advantageous time, in terms of lists and rankings. Also, less heavy competition for reviews.

In other words: pros and cons to every season. Look on the bright side and hope for the best.

New Epilogue

My editor asked me to rewrite the epilogue in third person. Originally, it was narrated by a minor character, and he felt (rightly, it turns out) that this character didn’t have enough established entanglement with all the main characters to justify the serious interactions he was having with some of them. By using third person, I was free to keep this minor character where he made sense, and also free to allow the main characters to interact among themselves.
Done. Epilogue: improved! Yay editors 🙂

House Article

I’m a little late announcing this: The article about our house is up on the NY Times “Great Homes” website. When I’ve provided a direct link to people in email, many of them have come up against the Times requirement that they be registered (which is free, easy and trustworthy, if you want to do it). But, when I google, I often get to the article registration-free. I don’t understand it, but give it a try. Google:
“emily winslow” cambridge times
or some other sensible combination, and you should find it easily.

The point of allowing this article was the hope that the author will do a similar article, with more focus on the book, around the time of the launch.

New Publicity Pic

The Times photographer, Jonathan Player, took a *beautiful* pic of me. (He has also photographed John le Carre and J.K. Rowling!)

You can see it at…
My New Website

The site is still incomplete, since I’m waiting on cover art and whatnot. But I did want to post an upgrade, since some of the pointers to the house article were linking to it.
If the site looks weird or doesn’t function properly for you, please let me know (and what system and browser you use).

I’ve been given permission to put my first-page text back up, so those of you who haven’t read it can find it there.

For any of you looking for my trailer, it’s down for now. I’ve made a slightly upgraded version that is waiting to incorporate cover art. I’ll let you know when I put it back up.

Back to work…

Have I said this yet? Line edits: ACK!


04/27/2009 02:57 PM

More line edit whinging

Another weirdness of line editing is that “accepting” and “rejecting” mean agreeing or not agreeing with the change proposed by the other user, whether that change is a deletion or an insertion. So, if he deleted something that I wish to keep, I keep it by “rejecting” his change. Or I can agree that something should be deleted by “accepting” the deletion. It’s very weird hitting “accept” to delete and “reject” to retain something.

And, “undo” on Open Office drives me nuts. If I replace an old sentence with a new one, and then want to undo it to see my old sentence again, I actually have to undo each word individually. (Does Word do this? Many, many things about Word are horrible, but I don’t remember this problem.) Not only is this a time suck, it also uses up my undo history, limiting how far back I can go. Well, with track changes on it’s even worse: an undo goes LETTER BY LETTER. Yes, I have to undo each LETTER of any addition individually if I want to go back. What the heck???

About the house

By the way, don’t think our house looks like that all the time. Yes, the architecture is by definition magnificent, and that always shines through. But the neatness? Not so much. To achieve that uncluttered look, my mom came to stay, took over the kids, and we all moved into guest rooms. I barred the family from the main part of the house for four days, which is what it took to tidy it. Not counting the weeks of purging and organizing I’d already done beforehand. Our hope is that these photos will be sufficient for any future articles, as I never want to go through that again! (Though it would be nice to get a better exterior photo. The day they took the pix was a week after that recent, historic snowstorm, so the skies were gray, the grass was covered with patchy, dirty, melting snowhumps, and our many snowmen were listing.)

And the pic of me

Thanks to those who complimented it. It inimidates me a little, since it’s prettier than I look in person! It’s not been manipulated or anything–just well-lit and an exceptionally good angle. But I am, under normal circumstances, more frumpy and frazzled. I hope it looks enough like *me*!

…aaaaaaaand some more line edit commentary:

I find that there are three kinds of edits: edits I agree with, edits I find neutral, and edits I disagree with. I tend to give in to the neutral ones, to justify how often I feel free to disagree 🙂



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."