Well what do we have here.
No really. What do we have here? Gorgeously formatted pages with words on them that look vaguely familiar, like maybe… *squints*
OH GOD THEY’RE MY WORDS
Excuse me for a moment while I flail.
Those beautifully-formatted words are from page one of the Perfect Assassin‘s page proofs.
Page proofs are all the words in the book laid out as they will be printed, which is why they look all Fancy and Real. Somebody has already gone through, page by page by page and line by line by line, and made sure everything is lined up just right and that there aren’t any pages with a single word/line on them or there aren’t any single lines/words just
My job is to find any lingering errors, be they missing words, misplaced words, or misspelled words. My job is to make sure any changes made during copy edits made it into this version. My job is NOT to change sentences / paragraphs / entire chapters. If I attempt to anyway, I am 100% certain my editor will personally fly all the way to Michigan, find my house, and swat my hand.
Because at this point, this book has already been through rewrites, revisions, edits, copy edits, and countless eyes – including my own – that have checked and double-checked every word and phrase. One must just be able to let things go at some point, right?
Thankfully, after spending a week with these pages, I’m still not feeling the urge to carve them up wholesale. In fact, I wasn’t even tempted to pluck out entire paragraphs. I allowed myself a few changes for flow, a few changes for clarification, and a few changes for plot reasons, and then there was that final leech that hadn’t been changed to leach.
Seriously, I can’t be the only one who didn’t realize there was a difference.
Yet more than a few times I had introduced the practice of using blood-sucking leeches into a dry, sub-Saharanesque desert instead of simply leaching something away. Welp. Apparently I’m still learning English after all these years.
The changes were/are minimal at this point, so really I just got to take a moment and read the story all the way through. It’d been long enough, and looked different enough, that I could almost pretend to be a reader, almost see it as someone outside my head might.
And if the fact that I’ve read this ad nauseam and still get caught up in the second half is any indicator… maybe this book will do all right out there in the world.
Wow guys. Guys. Less than a year guys. Guys.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was still hacking through rewrites, uncertain if I’d ever make it work. And now, a year after I sent this thing to betas with so many apologies for how rough and choppy it still was, it’s in the final polishing stages and is very close to becoming real.
You’d think this would make me feel better about how choppy and rough book 3 is right now.
You’d be wrong.
So I’m going to allow myself a few days in the sun and air with the pretty and complete before diving back into the messy darkness of rewrites.
*These are called widows and orphans.