Jan 28, 2009

This is the end

I'm currently working through the copy-editor's notes on my novel. As I am quickly finding out, copy-editors are a little harder to charm than editors. Your editor is basically already a fan; they know you; often they were the ones who bought your book. The copy-editor is just performing a job of work on a novel that has been randomly sent them. They're plucking chickens. So far I've had "very confused and contradictory and pretentious", "muddled, repetitive and crass", "cliched and dreary" "v boring" and "wet." My favorite comment so far is "we've heard him say this before and it was boring the first time." She's right, although naturally, I went back to the first time the passage appeared to see if she said anything about it then and — horror of horrors — she didn't, which makes me worry that she has been biting her tongue on other occasions. How much of this book has she been reading through gritted teeth?

I'm close to the end now, I can tell: I'm listening non-stop to Peter Gabriel on my ipod. This happened the last time I finished a book. I think it's something to do with the slow, steady rhythms, the weighty, bottom-heavy production, the momentum, the sense of big things moving slowly but surely along. It feels like swinging a sledgehammer: all the weight working for you not against you. Hopefully.


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