I met my editors today, and my eyes almost fell out of their sockets when I saw the number of corrections they've had to make while proofing. The pencil marks were all over - around ten per page, to my dismay.
I had been told very nice things about 'how the book is quite well-written and therefore there's no real editing we'll be doing, it's mostly just proofing'. But over the last few weeks, the sheer number of changes that have been marked up - due to being errors in logic or just carelessness of some form or just bad punctuation ( ouch!) - have, unlike the content of my book, not been funny.
There it is, right there...the previous sentence was too long to be easily comprehensible. Apparently, I do that. Apart from making cardinal mistakes like putting my full stops after the quotes. And using too many adjectives (Double Ouch!). But today's session was a fabulous learning experience because the Chief Editor is one talented lady with an way of expressing things that you just get. The book is getting the benefit of her experience and as a result of that sharp eye and sharp pencil of hers, is getting tighter and sharper.
They say it's going into print by Wednesday latest - I am a bit apprehensive about it, but it seems there is no choice - it's gone into the Advance Information Sheet for June and therefore it has to be out in June. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!
Editing is apparently a never-ending process and the way it works is that only as one set of changes are incorporated, do the next set of issues emerge - and the cycle continues ad infinitum, almost up til the time the book goes to press ( and sometimes even while it is doing so) - I'm just crossing my fingers that we've got most of the main issues in place. It's quite an eye-opener though. Things like -
* I'm staying in a company guest house already but I mention I'm about to enter the corporate world?
* How could he have helped me prepare my resume for placement season if I just met him three months ago?
* I've fallen sick on the flight to Jaipur, but it couldn't have been a flight from Delhi because that's just too short a time frame.
These are apart from the other pure embarassing things like -
* He felt a tug on his bamboo stick
* He rummaged wildly through my drawers.
The other basic issue has been that we've had to quickly try and cut down the number of pages from 300 to about 250 because we're trying for a magic price point and this requires being ruthless with my verbosity.
While doing this is when I discovered - blogging and writing a book are very different. Almost all the incidents that went out were ones that at some point I had just lifted from my blog. For me personally, the biggest learning has been that when it comes to writing a book, you have to be fundamentally more considerate of the reader. And while my blog has been absolutely instrumental in opening up my writing and giving the confidence to even attempt a project as ambitious as a book, it has a very different role to play.
So coming to that role - I'm thinking that I'm going to start a series about the process of writing. Kind of like this particular post, except a lot better organized. This is because I struggled a great deal to just figure out the basics like how to write, how to get published, how to re-write - the basics of how it works. And while I'm hardly 'experienced' yet, it is a process that's underway. What do you think? Would that make sense?
People prefer to comment on Facebook and reply to Twitter posts nowadays, but on this one, would appreciate if you could give me a sense here. Also need to know whether any of you are still around and awake at the end of this post.
Tell me what you think?
And yes, pray for me - am hoping despite this delay of a few weeks, next month will see a better, tighter final version of Just Married, Please Excuse in the stores. And that is definitely worth the wait. No?