Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Short, Albeit Not Necessarily Sweet, Post

I spent the day going through the copyedited version of This World We Live In, my least favorite part of writing a book, and no sooner had I finished, then I had a mother mini-crisis to deal with. I'm going into New York City tomorrow to see my friends Christy and Joyce. We've been best friends since freshman year in college, but Christy lives in LA, so it's rare for the three of us to get together.

That's to explain why I may sound cranky and why I won't be posting tomorrow when I wouldn't be quite so tired.

My UK publisher was very appreciative of all the trilogy titles you came up with, but they've decided to go with The Last Survivors. I'm very appreciative also, and loved many of your suggestions, so thank you again.

I posted a new entry over at thirdmoonbook. Harcourt is prepping the dead and the gone for paperback publication and wants to use a little bit of TW as a tease (just as Life As We Knew It has a little scene from d&g in it). I let my editor know which scene I wanted as the tease, but I guess I won't know until I get a paperback in January whether the scene I favor is the one they use. If you don't want to wait until January to read the scene (and that is, of course, assuming they use the one I want, which they may not, because it might be too short), then hop on over to thirdmoonbook and read it there.

Scooter is currently gnawing at my ankle. You have no idea how I fantasized about letting him loose on the copyeditor!


Elaine Marie Alphin said...

Too bad Scooter couldn't take on the copyeditor, but we all know how these things work: Much gnashing of teeth, reluctant acceptance of the changes we can live with (amid triumphant rejection of the changes the copyeditor made that were wrong, and indicated that we were much smarter than the copyeditor), and much girding of loins (which for some reason I originally typed as "lions" no doubt thinking of Ptolemy) to do battle over the changes that we can see why the copyeditor made but just don't like.
; )
Good luck!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Elaine Marie Alphin-

I'm not a big believer of if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it, but there is something to be said for a little bit of discretion when it comes to my battles with the copyeditor.

Some of the changes she suggested were excellent and much appreciated. Copyeditors can find things that escape the eyes of the writer and the editor.

But this particular copyeditor felt it was her job to change my wtiting style. She had a consistent pattern of changing things that I did consistently. And at the very end of the book, she took it upon herself to make what was a fairly signficant change, offering as a justification for the change something that she was completely wrong about.

I'd better get off the subject if I want to have a good time today!

Elaine Marie Alphin said...

Ouch! Yes, discretion is important - I'm big on praising copyeditors when they do something right, both because I'm thankful they caught the error, and also because I hope it will soften my firm refusal to accept things that they do that are wrong.

I had massive arguments with Ghost Soldier, because the copy editor insisted on altering all the military terminology to fit "house style," for example, changing regimental numbers to spelled-out numbers. I tried to explain that this was technical nomenclature, akin to scientific technology (would they insist on spelling H two O for water???) And finally they acquiesced, with extremely ill grace, as if they were doing me a huge favor instead of merely being correct instead of incorrect.

With Simon Says, my editor (Karen) hand-picked the copyeditor because she understood and liked the book, as it had some rather odd usage and punctuation that suited the writing style of that particular book that that particular narrator. So that one was a relatively easy process.

But I've never had one that tried to change my ending! Definitely stand fast on your writing style and ending. Perhaps this is a youthful copyeditor who doesn't understand her (or his) job very well? I've heard horror stories from friends about young copyeditors who incorrectly change lay/lie, etc., and I figure it's our job to stand up for what we wrote correctly in the first place. But doing battle is a pain, and rather spoils the joy of seeing the writing proceed to the galley stage.

Hang in there!

jmaster1324 said...

I know it wont matter what i say, but i know the seen i want for the tease. the one where they find bri, in the elivator, i was holding back tears the whole time. mostly because i was at school, and i didn't want to be made fun of.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought of making Life as we Knew It into a movie?

Chris said...

I'd think The Dead and The Gone would make a better movie. Then again, I doubt the movie would ever be able to do the book justice.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi and belated thank yous to Elaine Marie Alphin and jmaster1324 and anonymous and Chris-

I appreciate all your thoughts and concerns.

My mother is currently in the hospital, for what I hope will be a short, completely recuperative stay, and that's why I'm not answering your comments individually, the way I do try to do.

I've been devoting this morning to answering emails, and it's now past 10 AM, and I haven't eaten yet. So you're getting short shrift, and I do apologize!