Thursday, May 20, 2010

Do Overs

Ever so often, a reader will ask a question about some small detail in my debut novel, Deliver Me, and I'll have to admit that I can't answer because it's been years since I read the book. The last time I read it was during the galley-proofing stage, back in 2006. I've never read the story in actual book form, and likely never will. The same goes for all of my books thus far. As any author knows, by the time the book hits store shelves you've read it so many times that you're pretty much sick of it.

However, during the writing of my newest novel, Huddle With Me Tonight, I vowed this story would be different. I love it so much that I was actually looking forward to the galley so I could read it again. When the proofs arrived a few weeks ago, I stopped everything I was doing, drove to a coffee shop and settled in to read. That's when I discovered why I hate to read my books in actual book form: There are no do overs!

The galley stage only allows for corrections of typographical errors or problems with consistency. You cannot change an entire sentence around just because you thought of a better way to say it, or add a couple of lines of dialogue that you think would make a scene just a tad more entertaining. You have to let the flawed writing remain, and for me, this is torture!

I realize that I take the ability to tweak a manuscript for granted during the writing process. It's when I can no longer make changes to it that the story I loved so much turns into the one that could have been better...if only I could have a do over.

Tell me I'm not the only one who suffers from do over yearnings. If there was one thing you wish you could do over, what would it be?


Jewel Amethyst said...

The hardest part of reading the galleys for me is when I realize the editor made changes that I thought was integral to my plot and I can't change it back.

I did read each of my stories in final book form, but I read them as a reader, not as a writer and had no urge to make corrections (except when there was a typo and I cringed).

Jennifer C. said...

I wish I could do over the length of time I wasted before I pursued being a published author. I would have had more books out by now.

I have never read my entire manuscript in book form. I have read bits and pieces and yes I too have cringed at a typo, but it's a lesson learned for next time.

Dedicated readers will over look the small mistakes, so don't worry too much about the stuff you would have done different. They will still love it.

I recently read a tweet that said something to the likes of, an author who thinks his work is perfect is a terrible writer; however, an author who believes their book needs more work is a master of creativity.

Liane Spicer said...

I'm with Jewel. I hate when I discover the editor has made changes using her words instead of asking me to make them in mine - and it's too late to do anything about it. I'm not even talking about major, plot-impacting changes here, but the odd phrase or sentence.

My book, my words, please!

Farrah Rochon said...

Jewel and Liane, I understand your copy-editing woes. And Jewel, I'll admit that you are a braver soul than I am. I may try to read my September book...maybe.

an author who thinks his work is perfect is a terrible writer; however, an author who believes their book needs more work is a master of creativity.

That is awesomeness! Thanks for sharing, and stopping in, Jennifer!

Phyllis Bourne said...

Farrah, I haven't read my books in actual book form either.

I thought downloading them to Kindle would make a difference, but it doesn't. I love the characters, and I miss their worlds. But I can't bring myself to read them.