The Joys of Copy Editing

Who knows more about great suffering, I ask you?

June 5th, Yager’s War was finally sent to an agent who’d requested it. Like most things worth doing, this was not achieved without great suffering. Or at least great silliness. Especially when it comes to the copy-editing,

The writing of the novel was fun. The rewrite a lot of work.  A LOT. Then I did up the first final draft and sent it off to my trusted readers. They came back with suggestions, ideas and concerns. I dealt with them all.

Then came the dreaded copy edit. Now, some people have minds fo copy-editing. Smart people. People who can do the NY Times Crosswords in pen. The people who beat Jeopardy winners to the questions. People who can quote Shakespeare instead of Snoop Dog.

Not me. I am like that dog in Up. I get distracted very easily. My mind’s always thinking of something. Like where did I put my Def Leppard tape from the 80’s? Or why did Ares try to convert Wonder Woman when clearly, she wasn’t all about the whole ‘let’s kill mankind’ thing.

But I got some help from my friends and did the best I could. I went slowly. I used Gammarly. I blew up the font to be so huge, it could be read from space (so I wouldn’t start actually reading the story and get all lost in it.)

And then, after a freaking month, 459 pages, I finished.

But for laughs, here’s what I found.

I had to look up the crazy stuff like is adam’s apple capitalized? Well, it turns out, yes, yes it is. Adam’s apple. (I’ll take stupid things the English language does for 200.

Or you can ask Bill Maher. Wait, too soon?

Alec.)

I found that I had written gate instead of gait. Oh, I knew the difference, but somewhere in my brain, gate came out. I did the same thing with hanger and hangar that my critique group still giggle about.

I actually wrote, “bowels of soup” instead of “bowls.”

Looked up if herring should be capitalized (grammarly said yes, but google says no, so, I, ah, guess it’s kinda dealer’s choice.) I went without.

I wrote, “at the there.”  Yup. Dunno how, but that came out.

Later, I wrote, “on the table above the table.” I had to wonder if I’d been drinking that night. Or just up too late.

But seriously, WTF!?!?

Then I found that I’d written, “whipped the anger from his face.” which made me giggle.

From the Huff Post. They know their women’s bits.

I spent an hour, I kid you not, trying to find good words for lady bits. Then another hour reading about the time-line of genital slang. Then briefly thought about using stiff deityinstead of erection. But, my cop, being from Chicago and all, would probably not have used that term. Makes me want to write a novel using that as a title. (See how I can get distracted.)

I made lots of comma errors, plenty of ‘he’ instead of ‘the’ mistakes, buggered up the paragraphing somehow from one document to another, and even accidentally copy-and-pasted a deleted chapter back into the final draft.

Oh, fun times.

This is how I imagine the book cover. Only with the shadow of a man in a coat and hat looking all detectivie

But it’s all done. Yager’s War, 109,000 words is out there. A story set in Amsterdam in 1940 about a Chicago Detective who races against the clock to find his missing sister before the Germans invade.

It’s the best writing I’ve done.

Wish me luck.

(Copy edited by the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world).

Trolls, Bad Choices and No Acme Anvils – Grand Canyon Day pt 1

Pink Jeep Tours, Grand Canyon, Arizona. Our goal for the day.
Pink Jeep Tours, Grand Canyon, Arizona. Our goal for the day.

Up at 5:30 am.

Why? It was Grand Canyon day and we needed to arrive by 8:30 am. We had a tour booked. Pink Jeep. The eastern side of the southern rim. Looked amazing.

No one was impressed at getting up so early. Boyz looked like death. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World spent extra time in the bathroom getting all pretty-like.

As she did so, I went downstairs to have the front desk hold my backpack with my laptop. Normally, this encounter goes something like this. “Mind if I leave my laptop bag with you?”

“Why sure, sir, thank you for staying at our hotel, we’d be honored, nay, blessed, to look after that ratty-looking bag.”

Instead, when I asked if I could please leave my bag, I encountered one of the worst types of creatures on the planet.

The night shift guy.

Long, greasy hair. Thick glasses. Probably writes a lot of horror porn. “Why?” he asked like I had just asked him to give up masturbation.

“My laptop won’t fit in the safe,” I told him. Not that I wanted to put it there. Last night all that we put inside was nearly locked up forever.

He looked at me like deciding if he should use a hacksaw to cut up my body or dissolve me in acid. “What?”

I repeated my request. In my most polite Canadian tone.

 

The guy looked like Manson with glasses. Had I known he was on at night, I would have not slept.
The guy looked like Manson with glasses. Had I known he was on at night, I would have not slept.

He sighed, shook his head, then walked away.

 

He just walked away.

“So you’re taking it, yes?” I said. I may not have sounded so polite.

“I guess,” he said, cleared a spot on the counter, then took it.

He said nothing as I thanked him and I strode back to our room. Apparently, they only put the-very-pretty-young-Asian-girl-with-white-pants-who-couldn’t-have-been-nicer out at night. In the morning, they use trolls. Who need to bathe.

Despite our best efforts, by the time we hit the road, we were behind schedule. Google said we’d arrive right at 8:30.

The tour started at 8:30!!!

And that didn’t include any lost time due to traffic, me making a wrong turn or getting behind someone from Whiterock who drove 20kph under the speed limit.

So I did what I usually do when late. I made a series of bad choices.

First, we had to get gas. Now we should have gotten gas last night, but after all, that had happened, we were simply too exhausted. Maybe we could have made it, but maybe not and who wants to be stuck on a highway begging for someone in a pickup to put us in the back with the hogs so I can get gas at a gas station.

And because we were late, the pump wouldn’t take my card, and I had to go inside, and because we were late, there was a huge lineup, and then I had to guess how much gas and apparently, a lot is not an acceptable answer.

So, I made my best guess and was totally wrong since in the US they pay about as much for a tank of gas as we pay for tolls over a bridge, and so I had to get back into a lineup to correct my error. In the meantime, the Boyz and The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world had gotten lots of healthy snacks for the drive and tour. Plus lots of water.

Having paid, we sped off, my eye twitching with anxiety.

How did I miss the WRONG WAY signs???
How did I miss the WRONG WAY signs???

Then, I thought it might be fun to take a wrong turn and drive onto the highway.  Onto an exit. On a one way street.

The f-word may have been used. A lot. The swear jar was owed about $145.

But I managed to U-turn in the middle of the road and correct my navigational error. The good news was that, by now, EVERYONE was fully awake and wide-eyed.

I might even use the word terrified.

Then we had to get coffee, because even when you’re late, you need coffee. How else was I supposed to drive 50 miles over the speed limit, pass everyone, and avoid the wildlife on the road?

But about 1000 people had the same idea and we had yet another line-up to line-up.

See, the rules of being late specifically state that everything that can delay you further will delay you further.

But we got coffee, and I sped off like we were being chased by tough-looking bikers (who, spoiler alert, appear in a later story.)

The 2-hour drive could have been filled with lots of swearing and me passing trucks over a double-line on a blind hill (and, FYI, a Hyundai is not built for passing anything) but The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World saved the drive by phoning the tour company and seeing if we could book a tour an hour later.

No problem, they said, or if you get there in time, you could still take your original tour.

Stress melted away. My eye stopped twitching. And I enjoyed the drive up, the area not like the Vegas desert but filled with pines and cedars (or as I later learned, not cedars, juniper trees), and green grass and cows and the occasional deer darting in front of us.

roadrunner
Roadrunner! Meep-meep. The coyote’s after you

The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World pipped with delight when she saw a road runner whiz by in front of us. Disappointingly, no coyotes or Acme anvils followed.

And without incident, accident or breakdowns, we made it to the canyon. At 8:15. I made epic time.

Our tour awaited!