Dragon Keeper passes another milestone.

So, I’ve finished Dragon Keeper.

Yes, again.  🙂

The finish line this time was to go through the preliminary galleys looking for errors.  Galleys are a print out of the manuscript that mimics the pages of a book.  The title page is there, the chapter headings, the page numbers, all as it will be when it appear between covers.  It is the last, final, ultimate opportunity to author and editor to find any mistakes.  So, I don’t skim.  I read painstakingly with a bookmark, line by line, word by word, character by character.  And I find mistakes of my own making. 

Such as a paragraph whereI changed a character’s name.

And one where the character’s gender briefly changes.

And little things such as changing ‘a’ to ‘an’.  Checking to make sure that ‘stridden’ is really a word.  Yup.  It is.  Not sure about yup, but stridden is definitely a word.

So I sat for three days, post-its in hand, and read the whole book yet again.  Every time I found an error, I noted it on a post-it and stuck it to the page so that it protruded from the manuscript.  In ‘olden days’ I would have made corrections neatly in the margin and sent it back, air express, to the editor.  These days I sit down and compose an email that logs every change thus:

Page15, line 27      Change dragon to dragons

I had four pages of double spaced entries like that.  And even as I send them off, I know that, as always, there will be little errors that escape both me and the copy editor.  It just happens.  The eye sees what it expects to see on the page, and I’ve seen this book so many times now that I’ve all but memorized parts of it. 

A note to those who care about these things.  I think I used the phrase  ‘hare-brained’ too many times.  Let me know what you think when you read it.

At midnight last night, I launched my email corrections,and thought to myself, yet again, "Well, that’s done, then."

But writing is never done.  The process of finishing this book is always overlapped with starting the next one and tidying up threads from the previous one.  There is always writing work to be done. 

Today, bright and early,  I sent the same list of corrections to the Dutch editor, so that he and both translators can catch any errors I’ve passed on to them.

Tonight, I submerge again in volume two of Chronicles, titled Dragon Haven.

Tomorrow, at 10, I will journey back in time to an earlier book, as I confer wtih Recorded Book about the correct pronunciations of names and other peculiar words in Renegade’s Magic for the audio book.

Taped to the wall is a note from Gardner, reminding me that although the deadline for that story is October he really hopes all the writers will deliver months earlier than that.

Another reminder tells me that I’ll be off to Conestogacon very soon indeed.  Shouldn’t I think about getting my hair cut, and finding a clean pair of jeans to pack?

And littering the tidy schedule of a writer, thick as fallen leaves in a forest around the trees, are the bits of my real life.  Easter.  Spring Break.  Send that daughter off to Nationals in Atlanta with her FIRST team.  Find a First Communion dress and a gift for that grand-daughter.  Weed the strawberry bed. Do four loads of laundry.  Cut the dead raspberry canes out of the bed and tie up this year’s ones.  Visit my son’s house and climb up in his big old plum tree to show him which branches I’d cut if I were pruning it.  Then cut those branches.  Make an appointment with the tax accountant to finally settle that hash.  Balance the check book against the bank statement. Play Legos with my grandson. 

Somehow it all fits together. And I wouldn’t trade it for any other life.


4 Responses to Dragon Keeper passes another milestone.

  1. I think I managed to give myself a headache trying to imagine the eyestrain you must be experiencing with all these edits. This is a side to writing that many people don’t hear about. It’s nice to get the “behind-the-scenes”. 🙂

  2. Congratulations on finishing Dragon Keeper!
    I’m really looking forward to reading it this summer (I’ll let you know what I think about all of the ‘hare-brained’s!)

    As a fan I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the wonderful hours you’ve given me in the company of your characters. I don’t alway see eye to eye with them (I’ve wanted to shake some sense into Fitz on more than a few occasions) but that’s what makes them all so rich and wonderful and above all, real . They’ve all come to feel like old friends and as a bookseller I love to recommend them to others and see the pleasure on their faces as they come in to get the next book and the next and the next.
    Thanks very much

  3. I edit a small magazine, so I can readily appreciate this work. I’m so glad you’ve returned to the world of the Elderlings, and I’m ordering a UK version because I am too impatient to wait for the US one to come out. Thank you for all the hours with Fitz, the Fool, Althea, Brashen. I can’t wait to return to their world.