Sunday, May 3, 2009

The devil is in the detail

Friday saw the arrival of the page proofs and it's looking almost like a real book. I love the font and the cool designs at the start of each chapter and break. But.

But, as I'm carefully making my way through, checking for typos and wee problems, I'm seeing some clunks in my writing.

That's not all. My dear friend Jo came for coffee (so we could plot and plan her daughter's surprise 17th - it was a fab night btw) and my Oxford grad buddy's keen eyes spied the open pages of the proofs. 'Why,' she begins, 'have you used the word sez?'

'To show the accent,' I reply.

'But the Scots don't say it like that. They say saes [and she mimics a Scottish accent perfectly]'

'Um,' I say quietly. I hunt out Diana Gabaldin's Cross Stitch. Nope. No sezes to be seen. I'm going to have to change this.

I get up to replenish out coffee cups and come back to find her engrossed in the story. She laughs. This is a good sign, I think. 'What?' I ask.

'The cross bow competition.' She goes back to reading while I butter a muffin. 'Why,' she begins again, 'don't Rebecca and Rosie make a comment about Flea's name? It's so unusal?'

In defence, I hasten to show her two other times comments are made but we both agree there should be some reaction to his name.

Jo loves Banquo's Son and she's soooo good when it comes to details. We discovered I'd made a few errors over ye you and yer I just hope the publisher doesn't despair with the red ink. I will have to be extra vigilant with these details. Probably Harry Public won't notice but I'm hoping everyone who loves Shakespeare will read this as well and I expect a higher level of literacy for these people.

Not wanting to make excuses, but the above is a result of writing the novel so quickly. Also, the beginning chapters are the place where I am learning about the characters and now that I know them so well, I see places I could tighten things up in the narrative.

I'm glad of two things for Blood Lines: I am more familiar with everything and everyone and I have time to craft it well.

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