Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The tiny humiliations of the copy edit

I finished the copy edit for my book on the weekend. Yippee! My copy editor was very professional and therefore didn't laugh at me or hurl insults. But if I was (were?) her, catching the kinds of mistakes that she caught, I don't think I could be quite so kind. If our roles were reversed, here's what my markups would look like...

1) Hey, Einstein! No one has yet to crack the space/time continuum! Until she/he does, sensical timelines actually matter!

2) An en-dash can be used in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective when one of its elements consists of an open compound or when both elements consist of hyphenated compounds. PS — no one in your life will give two sh*ts about this except for you. So STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

3) There is a country called “Eritrea” in Africa. There is a town in Euboea, Greece, called “Eretria.” You are ignorant of both.

4) Characters who are sitting down cannot perform functions such as running or reaching for things on top shelves. STAND THEM UP, dum dum.

5) Ahem. It’s “lightning” not ”lightening.” And by the way -- your book has the word “Weather” in the title, so that’s not embarrassing at all.

6) Hey, Scottie! No one has yet to invent a teleportation device! Until she/he does, it takes eight hours to ride the bus from Toronto to New York City, not two!

7) "Smart" apostrophes and quotes are a thing, okay? Smart authors are too. Too bad you're not one of them...

8) If a character is feeling a powerful emotion, maybe describe the actual feeling? You know, instead of only writing "she feels"? Just an idea...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I would do any-thing for book, but I. Won't. Do. That.

I've learned some hard lessons since I started writing fiction 13 years ago. There's too many to list without a psychiatrist on call, so here's the truncated version. I'm calling it "The 10 Writerly Thingys I Will Never Do Again."

This list is for my personal writing life; it's not a judgement on others'. I've done these thingys already, to some degree, and I am therefore sick of doing them. But this doesn't mean I'll judge you for doing them. I've just been-there-done-that in my own writing. Okay? Still friends? Good. Now let's talk about me.

I will never again…

1) Write a story with a narrator/main character who is a writer, author, aspiring writer/author. Gross/tired/enough already.
2) Ask other novelists to write guest posts for my blog. Writers are busy people! They're raising kids and writing their own blogs and working full-time and -- oh yeah -- writing novels.
3) Write about cancer. Cancer stinks. I don’t want to give it more publicity. (I will also never again write about anorexia, cutting, etc. for several reasons, one of which is Hanya Yanagihara, the other which is kind of a funny story)
4) Post incessantly about my second book. I think I’ve pretty much covered it all here. Maybe there will be some sophomore learnings, but buy me a drink and we'll chat about it. Even though I love this blog and it's partly responsible for my book being published, I sometimes think it's way cooler to be a mystery.
5) Get an agent who isn’t connected to TV writing in some way. I’ve got goals, baby.
6) Attend a writing workshop as an act of procrastination. I will, however, wrestle you to the ground if you try to stop me from making Kardashian-related videos.
7) Write a book in first-person present. Although I adore this POV, it was almost the death of me
8) Overuse the word “that.” My editor Rosemary Nixon has tried to cure me of this disease, for which I am grateful.
9) Employ the word "whilst." Confession: I've actually never used "whilst," but I'm reading a novel -- contemporary, child narrator, set in a forest -- and the writer uses "whilst" exclusively instead of "while" and it's pissing me off so much that I needed to tell someone.
10) Whine about how hard it is to be a writer when I am stupidly lucky to have found my passion and to have the resources (time, education, personal security) to be able to go for it.

*PS: I may break these rules -- especially #10 -- so let's never speak of them again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I came across an excellent podcast on literary editing the other day -- yes, even more helpful than Khloe Kardashian's wise musings. It's from the people behind the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) who are running that massive conference in LA right now. Like RIGHT NOW. My friend Alana is there and I am so very sad that I can't be too. (Alana you better bring me back like a tote bag or a pencil or something...)

Featuring an impressive panel of editors and the writers who love them (but may have hated them at the time), the podcast is a helpful heads-up for first-time authors who are as clueless as I was going into the publishing house substantive editing process. (Which is a marvellous, mind-expanding, exhausting, wildly educative process, btw.) Check it out here.

I'm super multimedia these days, no?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Book Kediting

I finished my manuscript edit today! To celebrate, I ate my feelings and sobbed on the floor to the new Pete Yorn album! 

I was going to write a thoughtful blog post about my experience editing this novel, but then I watched a bunch of reality TV and realized that Khloe Kardashian had pretty much summed it up... 


If you can't see this video on your mobile device, try this link instead.

You can buy Khloe's book here! (Please don't sue me.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The sweat.

The failure.

The posture.

The pain.

The doubt.

The love.

The faith.

The snacks.

The Starbucks.

The tat.

The cups.

The company.

The happiness.

The snacks!!

The pain.

The sweat.

The cover.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Three things I learned today while editing.

1) A snug belt around the ribs keeps the back surgeon away!

2) Funny coasters serve as excellent paperweights!

3) Good mail comes to those who wait! (Although P.S., the sweater smells like dead people.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Edit Learnin'

As it turns out, a lot of my characters are sleeping when they could be talking to eachother, causing drama, building tension, you know, actually progressing the story forward. Hmmm...