Today I will send my copy edited version of The Path of Names back to Cheryl Klein (my wonderful editor at Arthur A. Levine). This is now the third cycle of edits we’ve been through. The first was a sort of ‘big idea’ round where Cheryl raised big questions (e.g. can you make Dahlia more vulnerable, earlier?) and I tried to revise the manuscript accordingly. The second was the ‘line edit’ version, where Cheryl raised medium sized questions (e.g. what’s Dahlia feeling when she discovers ___?). And now, I’m just about to respond to the copy edit version, where Cheryl and two other editors at Arthur A. Levine raised small – medium sized questions (e.g. maybe this line would read better like this. Oh, and can you tell us more about what Dahlia’s feeling when she’s hanging out with her friends in this scene?)
One of the fun things about the copy edit version is the concept of ‘stet’ (latin for ‘let it stand.’) As the author, if I want to restore a change the editors have made, I make the text the way I want it, and then scribble ‘stet’ in the margin. Well, okay, actually I do the track changes, insert comment, and write ‘stet’ but you get the idea. Usually my editors are right, but it’s nice to have the option, especially when you have my predilection for sentence fragments.
I’ve been trying to convince my family that we should bring the concept of ‘stet’ into our family life. As in, ‘stet the fact that we’ll barbecue for dinner tonight.’ (This is a joke. I would never dare to suggest that I be given that kind of control to anyone in my family, with the possible exception of our seven-month-old twins, and that’s only because they don’t speak English. Or Latin, as far as I know.)
My next job vis a vis my novel is to edit the ‘flap copy.’ This is the stuff on the book flap – the novel teaser / summary and the about-the-author. Once I take a look, I’ll post that here, too.