Friday, May 29, 2009


. . . all 401 pages of The Day of Small Things came Fed-Exing back into my life yesterday afternoon.

I'd just returned from a trip to town -- P.O., bank, recycling center, grocery, and a cup of coffee with the blogger known as estaminet -- who is in the area visiting family and is as charming as her blog.

Before I'd even unloaded the groceries or fed the dogs (it was past the sacred four o'clock chow time, they kept telling me), I had to get into the package and flip through the pages, in shameless search for Herself's words of blue ink praise.

There were a gratifying number of them -- as well as some very nice comments from the copy editor (in red pencil). And evidently, no major changes called for, no more of those 'Flat!' warnings or exhortations to 'Milk it!' -- meaning to stretch an exciting moment even farther.

Now I have to settle down to the painstaking task of reading every word as if I'd never seen it before in an attempt to catch typos and the like. I have to consider carefully if I've phrased things as well as I might, if Miss Birdie sounds like Miss Birdie, if Calven sounds like a modern day teenager.

I have to polish this baby till it shines and I have to get it back to Herself by June 22. Very doable, since as I said, there don't seem to be any major changes called for.

Oh, I know a few places where I'd like to insert a paragraph or two but on the whole, as I buzzed through the pages last night in search of every last blue ink comment, I kept thinking, "Hey! This is pretty good! Ooh, that was a nice bit there. Wow! Did I write that? Cool!"

Now, a few weeks past the major re-do of the story, I'm able to appreciate the new shape of the novel without thinking about the part I removed. And I can honestly say -- "Yep, I'm right pleased with Birdie's book!"
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Pat in east TN said...

Hooooo-ray for you Vicki! This has got to be an exciting time for you, and you know we're all tickled to death that it's getting even closer to the time that we'll all be able to read THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS.

I liked your reaction as you 'buzzed through the pages' ... that is too cool!

Carol Murdock said...

Wonderful news Vicki!!What do you think the cover will be or do you already know for sure?

Auntie Knickers said...

Every step on the way brings closer the wonderful day when that book comes out and I can read it, so YAY!

Tess Kincaid said...

Wow, Vickie, I'm sitting here with goosebumps for you! It was fun to see the manuscript and notes in the margins. I'm hoping one day I can have something published.

Vicki Lane said...

Pat, you've been with me every step of the journey so far --we're closing in on 'er!

Carol, I sent Herself a cover suggestion way, way back and talked about it on the blog but what usually happens is that the art director -- it's been Jamie Warren Youll for the previous books -- reads the manuscript and come up with an idea. And this idea of her is, no doubt, run past Herself and Marketing and who knows how many other entities before they produce a cover (an artist was commissioned for the last two books) which they will then send to me, saying 'We hope you love it as much as we do."

Auntie K., And I say YAY too!

Vicki Lane said...

Carol, the post about the cover was The Elusive Miss Birdie back in June '08.

Willow, It's a thrill like no other but it's a major amount of work.

I think you said you were beginning a memoir? That would be a wonderful place to tackle some of the issues you raised in that Post of the Day of yours! And of course we already know that you can write.

Tammy said...

This is such a fascinating post Vicki. It is so interesting to have 'walked' with you through the creation of Ms. Birdie's book. I had no idea of all the steps involved. Thanks for sharing.

Vicki Lane said...

So glad you enjoyed it, Tammy! Till I got into this writing thing I had no idea how long it takes from when the writer types 'The End' to the book's arrival in a bookstore. Nor did I realize how many people are involved in the production of the book once it's left the author. Staggering!

Pat in east TN said...

Vicki, it's been a learning experience for all of us too. I never imagined it took so long/was so involved. I appreciate every book I read even more now!

Vicki Lane said...

Me too, Pat, for sure!

Fay said...

Congratulations Vicki - blue has always been a favorite of mine too.

Vicki Lane said...

Don't you just love that tidy 'Perfect!' there in the margin?

Miss_Yves said...

Congratulations !Wtiting is a a great and difficult job !

Vicki Lane said...

Thank you, Miss Yves! True on both counts!

KarenB said...

Such exciting news! and to get it back with so many good comments and no really major revisions is excellent! I'm finding the progress of creating a book to be a fascinating one and am glad you have chosen to share it with us.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Karen, (not Kay as I mistyped on a previous comment).

I'm glad you're enjoying following the process. It's like me following Tammy's Fairlight Farm Musings -- I can enjoy all the interesting stuff about raising sheep -- lambing, shearing, etc. -- without any effort or investment on my part.

I still find the publication process fascinating as I had not a clue when I began. (And am still puzzled by some things such as some of the copy-editor's runic marks.)

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Vicki, great news! and to learn that your dogs expect supper at 4, just like mine. They must be on the same dog-time!
Just back from a video-taping of an interview, mostly reading poems, about Joseph Bathanti. Lord, all the prep, the hot lights, etc., how do real celebrities, not to mention cover girls, stand it? I ready to stay home and pick more kale!

Vicki Lane said...

I've done video interviews twice and was appalled to find both times that I tend to close my eyes when I answer questions. What's with that?

But I bet you came across really well!

Re 4 o'clock -- I think it's written into the dog union contract -- that's what mine tell me.

Merisi said...

Simply love seeing a real printed manuscript!
Do you have to transfer the corrections from the galley proof to the electronic version?

Vicki Lane said...

Merisi -As I've said, I too find the process fascinating, not having been at it long enough for it all to become hum-drum.

Thank heaven it is not I who transfers the corrections to the electronic version -- it's probably some poor soul of an intern (but I don't know for sure) who goes through the manuscript and incorporates the changes made by the editor Herself (blue ink), the copy editor (red pencil), and the author (regular pencil.)

I'll have to ask who does this. A horrible fiddly job it would be.

estaminet said...

Congratulations on the solid affirmation of the manuscript! I had a lovely time chatting with you on Thursday, and look forward to more visits when I come back in the fall. Meanwhile, I keep thinking of more local stories to tell you. Ever hear the history of the Marshall Depot?

Vicki Lane said...

Thank you, estaminet! I love meeting folks I've already gotten to know through their writing, whether books or blogs. And no, I don't know the story of the depot. Good, is it?

And I totally forgot to tell you that I followed the link and read most of Maida and the Little Store. I see the appeal and will probably have more to say about it on a blog post soon --

Look forward to seeing you again in the fall!

Vicki Lane said...

Merisi -- Here's the answer, direct from New York, to your question about who transfers to corrections to the electronic version.

"The compositor does it. I think they contract the work out. It used to be
housewives in Pennsylvania, but now I think they send it overseas."

Thanks heavens for the compositor, I say.