It’s summer in New York – my favorite season! Unlike most people, I actually love the insane humidity and 90 degree days because it all means long, endless hangouts on my deck, sipping Rosé and watching the sun set over the course of five hours. Bliss!
It also means time to WERK and yup, I have been busy. I just sent off the copyedit for The Regulars to Meg, my editor. With my last book, Parched, I had to do the copyedits by hand, in pencil, which was really tough: marking up a 125,000 word document with a system I wasn’t familiar with. So thankfully for The Regulars it was alllll in track changes which made things 1000% times easier. A copyedit is the part of the process that fixes grammar, spelling, word repeats, clarity of meaning, consistency of time, accuracy, fonts and design and more. After the copyeditor has done their thing, I get sent the doc to go through to approve or reject the changes. I read the ms four times for my copyedit, and even on the fourth time, I was catching stuff.
Things I Learned Doing My Copyedit.
- I am still pretty Aussie. Although I’ve been in the U.S. for six years and feel pretty confident writing in American English, I’m not 100% perfect at it. To me, smelled is still smelt, “Hey!” is still “Oi!” and guys, the bathroom attached to your bedroom is an ENSUITE!
- I love speech marks that don’t exist. Basically, air quotes. My submission had them around ‘everything’.
- You can take the girl out of the teen mag…. I used to write for Girlfriend magazine, which is Australia’s version of Seventeen And you can tell. Things queried by my copyeditor included: J Law (what is?), lo-fi (never heard of), goss (does this mean gossip?), overuse of ‘dude’ and much, much more. You’ll be happy to know I kept all of them in. It’s MODERN BABY!
- I love commas! I’ll put them here, I’ll put them there, I’ll put those commas any, where!
I also just got back from a 2-week residency at one of my fave places in the world: Martha’s Vineyard! It was my third time doing the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts, thanks to my pal Justen Ahren. I was there to work on the outline for my new book. This novel is another adult fiction (so making it my second, after The Regulars) and is a female friendship novel set in the 1920s. I’d been intensively researching the period for about 2.5 months before the residency so I was frothing at the mouth to get started when I got there.
Each residency is different, but generally speaking, there’s no real structure. As House Manager Jack Sonni (former guitarist for a litte band called Dire Straits) told us, “Your time is your own. Write as much or as little as you like.” Some writers use residencies for much-needed time outs. A chance to mentally and physically relax, and let ideas float to the surface. I was there to wrestle this damn outline into existence. When I think back on the time, so many violent verbs come to mind: beating it into submission, wrenching it into being. It was hard. The story I’m imagining is epic, and in a time period I’m not familiar with. I felt overwhelmed and isolated much of time, I had chronic insomnia most nights, my brain hurt, my insecurities battled for frontrunner. Writing kind of sucks sometimes. But, I did it! Over the two weeks, I churned out a 43 page synopsis. (Which is way too long, and the next version will be like, 30 pages but hey, it’s alllllll part of a process). I'm really proud of the work I accomplished: yay me!!!
So that’s where I’m up to!
Let me know how you doing, Tribbani-style, in the comments below. And AMA!