a glimpse at my work-day: One down, two to go

Okay, the first edits of Futurelover (I didn't name it--but I never do. I'm rotten at titles.) are off to the editor. These are actually PRE-edits. This story has been accepted and will show up at Ellora's Cave eventually. You'll be the first to know.

Now I'm going to pre-pre-edit another erotica submission, per the editor's request. Hey, whatever makes the thing easier to read is good, yes? Still, I might have to reinsert a bunch of commas if it gets the "no thank you, best of luck placing your work elsewhere". <--And that period outside the quotation mark thing? That's something that'll probably be different in another publisher's style guide.

Every publisher has different standards. Ellora's Cave does not like commas. They don't think much of semi-colons and colons are right out, thank you. Everyone hates parentheses. (I ask you, what the heck is wrong with parentheses?) Actually, I'm not a punctuation fanatic. Good thing, too, because I make too many mistakes to be satisfyingly righteous about it. I do care about consistency. That's fine because editors do, too.

Once I finish that pre-pre-edit, I've got the first chapter of the historical (NYC, 1880s. Same-old, same-old). I shall rewrite it one last time. Even though the first draft is done and the manuscript contains about 100,000 words, I swear upon the soul of Inigo's father, Domingo Montoya,** that if the agent hates this version of the first chapter--the chapter that's been rewritten about ten times yet hardly changes because I like the damn pornographic library and the tipsy heroine--if she hates it then I give up on the entire book. For now. I trust my agent's assessment.

Usually I blithely cut and reshape. I can shift lots of stuff around. This, I can tone down but I can't eliminate. (A lot of the plot harkens back to it)

I mean, honestly, though. This thing has been cluttering up my hard-drive for almost a year. heckfaar...I hear no one's buying non-hyper-erotic historicals anyway.

I want to finish all of this rewriting by Friday. I won't, but I have to give myself deadlines or I spend all my time looking at blogs and playing Uno. Tomorrow is Bosnian day so I'll only have two days. We'll see.

Once the kids start school again, ten pages a day. I swear upon my own dead father's soul this time...no, wait. Maybe I shouldn't risk that. Poor guy doesn't deserve that.


**we've watched that movie a couple of times lately


  1. Mm...I don't think that word means what you think it means. As for punctuation, my dad edits a friend's books (Elijah Wald, he writes blues biographies and other non-fiction), and they always have the semi-colon argument (my dad is for 'em; Elijah is not). Plus last time they got down and dirty about the colon. I use a lot of semi-s, not so many straight colons. And I hate the period outside the quotation mark thing. Inside, I say, inside!

  2. Inconceivable! Which word?

    The deal with the quotation marks is that if it's not a straightforward attributable quotation, the period's outside the marks. I think I get it.

    The other night I was reading Haroun and The Sea of Stories to my kids (can't recall the publisher) and noticed they had the periods outside quotation marks, too. Don't make me dig through the copy to find examples of what I'm talking about.

    OHHH Speaking of digging up books, because I threatened Colette, I found my copy of Claudine at School. It's pretty dang funny! More interesting than I remembered, too. It's a good translation. I bet you read your Colette in French, huh, Megan.

  3. The Princess Bride was the first movie I ever went to with a boy. We were in the 3rd or 4th grade and went with his parents to the drive in. It remains to this day one of my happiest memories and favorite movies. We got it on DVD a couple of weeks ago and watched it with Xavier (3 1/2), he loved it and Mark didn't even mind me saying all the lines.

  4. When I was in academics, I used to ask prospective residents all kinds of strange questions to get them to drop their schtick and act like human beings. One such question: What are your three most favorite movies? (And: what was the last fiction book you read? That always stumped those nerdy med students!) Princess Bride kept showing up on the favorites list.

    I liked the movie mostly for Mandy Patinkin. Don't think I'd put it on my top three list, though.

    Punctuation: I like 'em all. Semicolons, colons, parentheses (used sparingly, like this) and -- my personal favorite -- the em dash. I know it's a tick, so I try to tone them down in the edit. Which reminds me: I printed out my NiP today & the stack is four inches tall. Single-spaced.

    See ya.

  5. Ooooh, Princess Bride lines! Great movie. Loved Miracle Max. “Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT --mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is lean and the tomato is ripe.”

    Your historical sounds intriguing. Love the idea of a porno library and a tipsy heroine.

  6. Period outside the quotes is a British thing, I think. Along with single-quotes instead of double-quotes. (And as a habitual parenthesizer, I've never seen anything wrong with parentheses either (though I can see how multple nested ones could be distracting (though they are fun))).

  7. Another advantage: playing with parenthetical comments (especially the inner ones [like this {or maybe even this}]) means you get to use more keys on the computer. Keeps your fingers limber, I say.

  8. I did not read Colette in French, although I did Camus in French...how did you guess I was once a French geek? I still speak French when I'm quite drunk. Don't know why, I don't remember much of it. And I was just quoting PB, not accusing you of using the wrong word. My husband and I quote PB a lot, actually, too. Son hasn't watched it yet--soon, I think.


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