Writing full-time is the fulfillment of a dream. I have the unabashed joy of spending my days making stuff up (for which I heartily thank you, my dear reader). But occasionally into this idealistic existence, some less than ideal activities descend. Copy-edits are one of them.
In some ways, it’s a nice break from plowing the virgin page with a new story. It gives me a chance to revisit something I wrote months ago and have half forgotten. I appreciate the dedicated professionals who scrub my prose and help make my work the best it can possibly be.
But sometimes, a copy editor is intrusive. He/she may not know period slang or other language usage that provides the flavor of the time period in which my story is set. Sometimes, it’s more than a spelling/grammar correction. Sometimes words are changed, strangling my voice. Occasionally, an entirely foreign sentence will appear in the manuscript, glaring up at me like a cuckoo’s egg.
Another writing duty that comes my way is providing my editor with a one-two page synopsis to be used internally by marketing to assist them in selling the story to the buyers. (Not to be confused with readers. The buyers are the ones who decide what titles will appear on the shelves and in what quantities.) Reducing a 400 page story to one or two, including all the essential plot points, complications and resolutions while also delivering a taste of my “voice,” is a little like sinking all the pool balls in a single lucky shot.
So today, after I play with my new hero for as long as it takes to hit my page count, I’ll crack open the copy edits. Later this evening, I’ll continue to reread the manuscript I have to shrink to a mini-synopsis. For a few more days, I’ll be juggling these extra balls, but please don’t think I’m complaining. I love my job! If the Prize Patrol rolled up to my building tomorrow, I’d still make stuff up. That’s how much I love writing. I meant this post as a peek into some of the things an author is required to do besides creating a new story.
How about your job? Are there things about it you enjoy less than others? If the Prize Patrol visited your house, would you still do it?