Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Top 7 Things I Learned From My Final Proofread [Cue Synth Music]

Yesterday, I sent off the final, final, finalest version of my manuscript for The Mapmaker and the Ghost. Whatever's in there gets printed into a hardcover book and I will never have a chance to change anything about it ever again.

That is totally not freaky. No not at all.

And this is not an image of me peeking out in horror at my manuscript from underneath the covers.

And to prove how not freaky it is, I have made a soothing list!

Here are the top 7 things I learned from my final proofread:

1) Why yes, the epic synth lick from Europe's The Final Countdown can totally play in your head as you read all 245 pages of your manuscript. Sometimes accompanied by visuals of GOB Bluth performing "illusions." Oh, wait. I'm supposed to be concentrating?

2) I really thought I knew when to use commas. It turns out, I don't. I think I'll just own it and from now on will, haphazardly, place them, as I see,,,fit.

3) Which is sure to make me really popular with proofreaders everywhere.

4) Speaking of which, can I say how much I am in awe of them? Not only are they keeping track of all the grammar, comma, m-dash mistakes that I'm making, but they are also checking for continuity, accuracy and--sometimes--even character development. Wow.

5) Regular erasers don't really work on colored pencil. Which is a problem when you have a random freakout, change an entire paragraph thinking it's about a different character than who it's actually about, and then realize your mistake and need to erase all your notes in the margin, finally ending with a hearty: STET, Please ignore my comments [I'm a moron].

6) Wow. So, this story is really, truly going out into the world. It's exciting, thrilling and scary all at the same time. For a long time, it was my story and I physically knew the handful of people reading it. All of that is about to change...

7) No, seriously...how on earth did I never know that I'm a comma dunce?


  1. I'm a total comma dunce, too, and really don't know if I've used them correctly here. Or, here. Oh, never, mind. But yes, I'm in awe of all those awesome people that make our books perfect and correct!

    But congrats to you on this BIG hurdle. I'm slightly behind you and am kinda terrified of letting go. BUT, here's a tip for next time - I found erasable colored pencils at an art store.
    (and thank you for the GOB reference - I can't hear that song without thinking of him. Loved that show so much!)

  2. Thanks, Joanne! Letting go has been a pretty bittersweet feeling, I must say. Maybe I can be your sponsor for when it's your turn. :-)

    Also, thanks for the colored pencil tip. I need to go buy some of those pronto!

  3. Also, at some point you might be lucky enough to hear me & Debby duet to the instrumental sections of "The Final Countdown." We are glorious and we won't make your ears bleed at all...promise. (I can not be held to any promises made here.)

  4. Jenny, by "at some point" I hope you really mean on October 22nd.

  5. SARV! I love The Final Countdown. I'd never thought of it as part of a playlist for publication but, yeah, it rocks.


    I liken this particular point in your book's life to the time between actually giving birth--when the doctor/nurse/midwife/taxi-cabdriver takes the child from you to measure, weigh, and clean it up--and the time you actually get to hold the finished product in your loving mother's arms. At that point you can gaze adoringly at the cover, count the number of pages in the finished copy, cradle it proudly in your arms, and do other motherly things, like worry about its future and how the world will treat what you have given birth to. In other words,Sarvenaz, once you have given birth, you never stop worrying.

    It's a parental thing.

  6. Ha! Thanks, Suzanne!

    Since I'm not a parent yet, I'm always a little wary of comparing the book to a baby. But, secretly, that's how I always think of it. ;-)

  7. I think it might be able to be arranged on 10/22 :-)

  8. Congrats, Sarvenaz! I just handed in copyedits, and it felt very bittersweet to be almost finished with this book. I can't imagine how FINAL this must feel for you. But exciting too. THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST coming soon to a bookstore near you!

  9. Thanks, Eve! Soon enough, it'll be you!

    P.S. Isn't it funny how different the schedules at the different pub houses are?

  10. Great post… I couldn’t be happier for you.
    I couldn’t phantom the emotions going through you… that’s a once in a life time feeling, I hope it stays with you for awhile.