Last month I worked on first pass pages, the first time an author sees her book looking bookish and the last time (usually!) she can make corrections. That first glimpse of the title page is always special.
I had read through the draft after turning in copy edits and found some things that needed changing. Some were timeline issues. Others were matters of repetition or word choice. Here’s my favorite from the list: page 25: Miss Moore catches her breath. Page 37: Jack catches his breath. Page 51: Cora catches her breath. Lameness follows! Page 144: Cora let out a breath. “It’s Dr. Kingsbury!” I only let one person catch their breath in the end, and I (hope) I fixed Cora’s weird breathing into something more believable. You’ll have to see if you agree!
In the document itself, there are comments from the proofreader and my editor. Everyone is on the search for various things. The proofreader is looking for grammatical errors, repetition, stacked hyphens, font inconsistencies, and the like. My editor is checking one more time for continuity within the story itself. She found some really good things. For example, in one chapter, she felt the motivation for a character’s particular action wouldn’t be triggered by A but by B. She was right. That meant some rearranging and rewriting. The chapter’s now stronger for it.
This is one of Dr. Kingsbury’s handbills. I’m showing you because it’s fun.
I’m so glad I caught the error above. Though the book had been through multiple readings at this point, somehow no one noticed (including the author!) that when I’d changed the name of a park from Bayberry to City I’d neglected to alter the title of this newspaper clipping. Oops. Thankfully this time through I found it.
How is it that things like this happen? How is it errors even sometimes slip into finished books with multiple readers and multiple reads? The answer is easy. We’re human.
This was a fun surprise I found at the end — excerpts from Blue Birds and Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine! I’ve never had anything like that before included in one of my books. I’ve heard people describe a new book as a calling card for an author’s backlist titles, and in this case, Miraculous really is.
This week, Miraculous went through a second round of pass pages with very minimal alterations on my end. They were things like cutting a redundant sentence, correcting the changed last name of a character, etc. The proofreader was still busy finding places where apostrophes needed to be changed from flat to curved and other minor details like that. It was fun to get a final read through with very little at stake on my end. Truly a chance to see the story as it stands while checking for any last inconsistencies, but mainly a celebratory reading where I could acknowledge my many years of hard work!
I’m turning in my second pass today. Then the book goes out to reviewers and early readers as digital ARCs (advance reader copies). Miraculous will be released July 26. Make sure to preorder a copy!
Lynne Robbins says
I find it encouraging that I’m not the only author who occasionally uses a phrase a few extra times.
Yep. And sometimes I catch myself using similar phrases I’ve used in other books. Other times I’m sure it happens and I don’t catch it.
Thanks for sharing your process!! It’s so helpful.
Glad to hear it!
Steve Cromwell says
Definitely helps to know that there’s a whole team ready to help one’s book to look and read its best. Thanks for the tour of the process!
You’re welcome! I can’t imagine doing this alone.