Friday, April 28, 2006

Author alterations, Part Two

Finally. A few weeks ago I talked about Author Alterations, the last stage of the publishing process to involve me, the author.

At the AA stage I can still change words or sentences, with the stated caveat that any changes I make introduce the possibility of typesetter error and publisher annoyance and the resurgence of the Black Plague. So here's a sample of what I've changed and not changed:

Not changed:
"Each fall, as the oak leaves turned gold and fell to the earth..."
I shrieked inside when I read this: I used "fall" and "fell" in the same sentence! I should change "fall" to "autumn." Only then will the book be perfect. (pulls out hair)

Nah, I decided it wasn't a big deal. Any reader who notices something like that isn't involved enough in the story, which means I have bigger problems.

I made one change, though miniscule, that altered the entire portrait of one of the main characters. The scene takes place after the hero and heroine have made love (okay, screwed like wildcats) just a few hours after meeting. The next morning he says he's torn between wanting to avoid her and wanting to get to know everything about her so he can figure out "why I need you so much."

Reading this sentence, I found him extremely, well, needy. I mean, dude, you just met her last night, and now you can't live without her? What a loser.

So I added an 'ed' (the famous Mr. Ed!) and changed the sentence to "why I needed you so much."

With two little letters, I turned a creepy codependent into a relatively normal guy contemplating a moment of supreme horniness. It still makes him more reflective than the average man would be in that situation, but he has issues that explain that level of introspection.*

Beyond that, most of the alterations were either typo fixes or subtle changes for clarification purposes, e.g., where it wasn't clear who was speaking.

Now that this stage is over, I'm glad I won't get to review the galleys. I'm so sick of this book. I want to beg Luna not to publish it, or barring that, beg people not to read it, to tell them, "Don't bother, but try my next book. That one will be really good, I promise."

But I know it's just a matter of perspective. A reader falling into this world for the first time won't be bored, won't notice that I used "fell" and "fall" in the same sentence (except for you guys, now that I've pointed it out).

Crap, I just used "falling" and "fell" and "fall" in the same sentence in this blog. Time to hang it up.

*Plus, the audience is primarily female, and we like to fool ourselves that guys apply the same level of analytical thinking to sex and love as they do to sports, computers, and comic books.



Good change, that need to needed thing. A very big deal, characterwise, and hardly text-invasive at all. Way to go!

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 4/28/2006 11:56 AM

Thanks, Rob. I panicked a bit when I saw it, because that line never stood out to me that way before. When I thought of the solution, I was so relieved. I made it clear in my note to the editor that it was an important change, not just a typo. Now I'm crossing my fingers that someone doesn't accidentally miss it.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 4/28/2006 12:03 PM

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