This also means I barely drew a breath between turning in the last chapter of the manuscript and starting my own and my editor's revisions, and that I had more editorial revisions sandwiched in with the copy edit. A terrifying combination! Much writerly angst! "Will everyone hate it? What will I do then???"
Fortunately, that didn't turn out to be the case. (Or at least if my copy editor hated it, she didn't say so.) My editor is quite happy with it, I think. WHEW.
That's my copy-edited manuscript above. The actual edit is done these days in Word Track Changes, but I ask for a printed copy as well. Everybody goes about this differently--would love to hear how REDS and other authors do it--but I do a first read-through of the digital copy, addressing the copy editor's comments that don't require much decision making. Then I curl up somewhere cozy with the printed pages, flags, and a pen, and make notes as I read, because I catch things in print that I never see on screen. After that, I put my changes, and more changes suggested by my editor, into the digital copy. I am thrilled when I get an editor Smiley, and shudder when I see the dreaded Show, Don't Tell. (And yes, I still get those, after sixteen books...)
And now, tomorrow, just over a week after I turned in the copy edit, I will get page proofs. For non-writers out there, these are the type-set pages. You are only reading for little errors that might have slipped through the copy edit, or errors in type-setting or transcription. It's very expensive to make big changes at this stage and very much frowned upon.
Unlike the terrifying copy edit, I love reading the page proofs. It's the first time that an author gets to experience what they've written as a real BOOK. Not only have all the editing changes been incorporated, but you see the design of the book (font, chapter heads, etc.) for the first time.
The book comes to life! In a few weeks, the ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies, or what we old fogies still call "galleys") go out, and then, in a little less than two months, TO DWELL IN DARKNESS will be on the shelves (or your e-reader.)
So what's next? I'm plotting Kincaid/James #17. I have a working title, which my editor and my agent both like, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to share it. I have a start date for writing actual pages written in RED on my calendar. August 4th.
So hold me to it.
Here's a smidgen from TO DWELL IN DARKNESS, Chapter 1:
London was miserably cold for mid-March. There were a few hardy crocuses showing their heads in the parks and private gardens, but hard frost had nipped the daffodils and turned the early blossoms on the fruit trees crystalline.
Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid walked to Southhampton Row from Holborn tube station, his coat collar turned up, neck swaddled in a wool scarf, gloved hands shoved deep in his overcoat pockets. The sky was as dark as gunmetal, and when he turned east into Theobald’s Road, a blast of wind almost pushed him off his feet. Lowering his head, he trudged on. The weather boffins said the wind was blowing from the Siberian steppes—he wondered if he should consider one of those Russian hats with the earflaps. At least he now understood why the Russians wore the silly-looking things.
He quickened his pace as the concrete bulk of Holborn Police Station came into view. Although its architectural design might have come straight from the Gulag, it at least promised warmth.
Holborn station. His home away from home for more than two weeks now, yet he still felt as displaced as he had on his first awkward day. And as angry.
Returning to Scotland Yard from paternity leave in mid-February, he’d found his office empty. He’d been transferred from his longtime job as head of a homicide liaison team at the Yard to an area major-incident team based here in Holborn. It was a demotion, although he had kept his rank. There had been no warning and no explanation.
His immediate superior, Chief Superintendent Denis Childs, had been called out-of-the-country on a family emergency. That had added a second worry atop the first, as Kincaid and his family had been letting Childs’s sister Liz’s home in Notting Hill while her husband worked a five year contract in Singapore.
Kincaid had come to like Liz Davies, although they had only communicated via email. He hoped that the out-of-country emergency didn’t include her.
With Kincaid’s transfer to Holborn, Doug Cullen, Kincaid’s detective sergeant, had been moved into a data-entry job at the Yard, ostensibly to accommodate his recovery from a broken ankle. Now, Kincaid faced adjusting to a new job without Cullen’s capable, nerdy presence. Losing a good detective sergeant—a partner with whom you spent more hours than you did with your spouse—ranked, in his opinion, close to divorce on the scale of life disruptions, and there’d been no compensating honeymoon with his new team.
As if conjured up by his thoughts, he glimpsed his new detective constable, George Sweeney, trotting down the steps of the LA fitness gym across the street from the police station. Fresh from his morning workout, Sweeney wore a three-piece suit that was too expensive for a constable’s salary, and no overcoat. His short hair was still damp and trendily spiked, his cheeks red from his healthy exertion.
“Morning, Guv’nor,” Sweeney said, overly hearty, as they both reached the station entrance. “You look like death warmed over,” he added, squinting at Kincaid. “A little too much partying?” Sweeney added with a wink and what came much too close to a nudge. By God, the man was irritating.
“Sick child,” Kincaid said shortly. Their three-year-old foster daughter, Charlotte, had a bad cough, and he and Gemma had taken turns to sit up with her.
“Oh, well.” Sweeney shrugged. “That means the day can only get better, right, Guv?”
Kincaid felt a sting on his cheek, and then another. The lowering sky had begun to spit sleet.
And just for the record, I failed the compound word test. Almost every single decision I made turned out to be wrong. How do my fellow REDS fare on the compound word challenge?
Or should it be "compound-word"?
Or should it be "compound-word"?