I’m about three days into working on Spirit again as part of the copyedit round. I got it back Saturday night. At first I thought to myself, “Okay, I can do this. There aren’t going that many changes.” I can’t create any new content, only trade things out. Not that I really want to add anything more, because there is nothing left to be said. I’m making changes to grammar, spelling, style and things like that. Since the book is now in it’s official font and layout, I’m also taking care of those pesky one word lines. Granted, I couldn’t do that before, but the other stuff I thought I had taken care of a million revisions ago.
Not that I can complain (or whine) that much. Having all these cycles and time between them has given me a chance to shift gears. First cycle, I was just trying to get the manuscript done and out the door. Next round was for patching plot holes that I could walk through. Both required getting into the characters and experiencing the story through their senses and emotions. It didn’t matter how the words flowed, just that they did and made sense. This one is the objective, make sure it’s perfect phase. I have to get into the story enough to remain connected with the characters. I also have to remain objective to look at what is being said and the whens, whys, and hows behind it with an editor’s eye. Am I repeating words? Am I breaking flow? Are any of my characters babbling too much? Are they sounding like children instead of adults by the way they are saying things? How does it read as a reader? All questions I would be asking if I was working on another person’s manuscript, I’m having to ask myself.
So far, I’ve liked the changes I’ve made. I’m keeping Word’s tracking mechanism on just in case I want to reverse them in the next pass. I think I’ll keep most of them, though. Especially the ones where I get rid of the awkward phrasing.
There is one more round after this. I’m actually looking forward to it because all I’ll probably be able to do is accept or reject suggested changes. I’m not a grammar expert and that’s what it’s all about in the proofreading phase. Sure, I can write, but I can’t give you an exacting grammatical interpretation or explanation of what I do or how I do it. I’ll correct the stuff that looks really weird, but I’m not the technical, nitty-gritty language expert. My language expertise is in programming, which in some respects, has to be more extracting and precise.
Then there’s another big part to this equation. At the same time I’m having to be very objective, I’m very emotional. I mean, we are on the verge of October. In three months, it’ll be January 2015. I get nervous about another year passing anyway because it’s one more gone and another where I don’t know what’s going to happen. Well, this time, I partially do. Spirit is going to make itself known to the world sometime in early 2015 and then what?