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My Writer's Journal

What I Like/Dislike About Writing

I love it when I get a new idea. I'm excited when I do enough research to recognize that it's a good idea, even more excited when an editor says, "Tell me more." I love doing the basic research, enough to start writing, and then more advanced research as the project becomes more complicated. I'm hyped when I see the story unfold, taking off in directions I hadn't expected. I'm happy when I see it all coming together with the end actually in sight. I'm glad when the first draft is done and happy when I see what I need to do in the next draft.

I feel good when I send the ms. to the editor. I feel even better when the word comes back that the editor likes it but sees need for improvement. I'm energized when I jump into that complete rewrite, and I'm even glad when there are more questions, more problems to be solved and I can figure out how to solve them.

I DO NOT LIKE to get the ms. back from the copyeditor (CE)with dozens upon dozens of queries and suggestions for small changes; when the CE disagrees with my research, questions my conclusions, or goes to sources different from the ones I've used. I know that's what CE's do. But I don't like it.

This week BEAUTY'S DAUGHTER arrived, and I've spent the past few days going over all those queries. It's the CE's job to question things. We both want the book to be accurate, the grammar to be correct, the spelling perfect. Today I've struggled with the correct spelling of Pharsalos, a small, remote city in ancient Greece where Hermione spent some very unhappy months. The CE has changed every single reference to Pharsalus--"us," instead of "os"--which is a more modern spelling of the name. The CE is wrong. But now I have to find evidence to prove it.

CE says her sources say it's "Lion Gate;" my sources call it "Lions Gate." We're both right--but I want it my way.

Sometimes, of course, CE catches some bloopers--I've made a few--and for that I'm grateful. But this is the one part of the process of writing and publishing that I definitely do NOT enjoy. Fortunately, it will be finished soon. By the end of this week I'll be doing something I really love--working on a new novel.

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