My emotions are still flying high and I can’t believe how totally crappy I feel. But life must go on, and in spite of the fact that I would like to just curl up in the fetal position for the next couple of months and sleep my life away, I have obligations and responsibilities that require my attention.
One of my tasks as author of They Never Die Quietly, is to carefully examine a meticulously edited manuscript and either approve or nix suggested changes. 90% of these proposed changes relate to language, sentence structure, grammar, syntax, and punctuation—issues that are likely not debatable. But 10% of the copy edited notations deals with style—which in some cases is subjective—and continuity.
Because the text had already gone through a comprehensive review and editorial process, I expected to see only a few changes noted on the 250-page manuscript. Was I in for a humbling surprise. Only a handful of pages were clean and okay as written. But the majority of the pages were littered with multiple corrections, and in some cases I found a dozen or more on a single page! Wait a minute. How, pray tell, did I miss these obvious problems?
While reviewing page after page of these corrections, I felt totally illiterate. That I could overlook these mistakes absolutely stunned me. The editor who performed this copy edit was remarkably competent. She didn’t miss a thing. What really blew me away was her extraordinary attention to details. On page 23 she wrote a note: “Character states that her car broke down on Soledad Mountain Road, three blocks south of Nautilus Street. Nautilus doesn’t intersect with Soledad Mountain Road.” She actually Googled the street to be sure my information was correct? Wow!
On another page she wrote: “On page 79 you mention that Al went through rehab three years ago, but on page 156, you claim it was only one year ago.” Is she kidding me? How could she remember such an obscure fact? All I can say is she must have a photographic memory.
This one really blew my mind: “You mention the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) having jurisdiction over illegal aliens, but according to Wikipedia, the Department of Homeland Security was tasked with this responsibility in 2003.” This gal could spot a pimple on a mosquito!
Needless to say, I tucked my tail between my legs and humbly authorized the necessary corrections. However, wherever she changed the word “Freeway” to “Interstate”, I had to flex what little remained of my creative muscles and try to preserve my bruised ego, by insisting that they stay as written. I mean, I do live in California and they are Freeways, right?