Friday, April 25, 2014

Familiar Strangers

I got through all the editor's notes yesterday. While I griped about a few things she just didn't seem to get, she did have a couple of suggestions that gave me "ooh!" tingles. Now I need to read through the whole book to make sure there are no continuity errors from the ripple effect of changes and to proofread the changed sections.

One thing that baffled me was the editor's assertion that she couldn't believe someone could have met someone and not know who that person was. I do that all the time. I can have in-depth conversations with someone and never find out their name. I've even done this with moderately famous people. I had a very nice chat in a convention green room with a very interesting lady before I found out it was Lois McMaster Bujold. If someone else hadn't called her by name, there's a very good chance I might have run into her later and then had a duh moment when I learned that's who she was. In the book, there's a situation where a downtown bookstore serves as a clandestine drop-off point for conveying things to the rebel group. There's an upper-crust, uptown, young man who's secretly providing things for the group. They don't know this about him. I figured it made perfect sense that he might have dressed in rougher clothes and gone to a part of town someone like him wouldn't frequent to drop things off, and all they'd know was that a young man was their contact. They could refer to having met him without it meaning they knew his name and position. The editor didn't believe this was possible and was requiring a lot of complicated writing to show how this could be true. I decided to delete the reference and suggest he used a courier to drop things off (in my head, it's really him). It's not like it matters to the plot. I just found it amusing that the rebels were thinking that all people like this character were awful without realizing that they already knew and trusted this guy -- it was sort of the sense that we're all the same beneath the outer trappings.

I kind of wish I were able to know who everyone I met was because that would have spared me a lot of embarrassment over the years. I'm terrible at recognizing people out of context. I've had way too many "smile and nod" conversations where I have no idea who I'm talking to and am living in dread that someone else will join us and I'll have to make introduction. Or worse, at booksignings where the person clearly knows me but I can't remember their name to write it in the book. I've been in a situation where I was with a group of people chatting with the governor-elect of the state, who was already a very public figure, and after he left, someone said, "He was really nice. Who was he?" Fortunately, in that case I knew who I was talking to, but it was possible for a famous person to have a casual chat with someone who thought he was just some random guy.

But after this, it should be going in to copy editing, and then I'll be mostly done with the book other than reviewing copyedits and checking page proofs. I'm hoping to start seeing some cover ideas before long.

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