This morning I woke up to an email from the copy editor. I’ve had a content editor for the story and an everything-else editor for the authors note and other not-story stuff, and now I’ve had a copy editor and get this—she liked it! She called it a “wonderful manuscript”! She said she had a “great time reading” it! She said I had too many commas!
No surprise on the last one, anyone who knows my writing knows I like long sentences and commas are the glue that holds my sentences together. Not my crazy glue, crazy glue is for people who don’t use gorilla glue and Daddy taught me to always use gorilla glue if I want something to stick and stay stuck.
Still, this is a big deal. A weird deal. As my research moves on and my PhD life seems to be spiraling down a barely controlled drain, the novel chugs along. Out of my hands now for the most part, except when they want to ask for approval in moving commas and changing quantifiers. It’s funny how when I submitted the manuscript over a year ago I thought it was about as perfect as I could make it. I was pretty sure that there wasn’t much that could be improved on, wrap it in a cover and put it on a bookstand because it was ready to go, but that wasn’t the case at all. Many readers and editors later and here I am, getting giddy that one person who was paid to read my script told me she liked it, and that she deleted my commas.
Maybe she was just being nice. Maybe she truly enjoyed it. Maybe it doesn’t matter. The baby monster of words and phrases that I’ve nursed along for years is about to head out into the world and short of breaking my contract, there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I’ve lived with this story and these characters for a long time, and now they’re almost ready to go live on the shelves of kind friends and curious strangers, and for better or for worse they will stop being totally mine.
And, because of a kind and diligent editor, the pages will be a few commas lighter.