Thursday, January 15, 2009

No one tells you this but...

...laughter should be a part of revision. 

This past weekend, I spent hours and hours pouring over the copy-edits for Operation Yes, dealing with em dashes and line spacing and even re-writing two key scenes. 

Part of it was exhilarating: it's going to be a real book! 

Part of it was terrifying: it's going to be a real book!

Part of it was tedious:  Who wants to consider every last comma placement? Not me.

Part of it was embarrassing: I had spelled "gray" as "grey" over and over and over as if I were secretly British. Although my daughter made me feel better by saying that "grey" looks more "gray-ish," if you can follow that.

Part of it was annoying: why does the Chicago Manual of Style not want air force to be capitalized except for when referred to as the U.S. Air Force?  I understand the logic of it, but aesthetically, it bugs me. But if I tweaked each instance of capitalization, then the manuscript as a whole appeared inconsistent. I guess that's why style manuals exist. Sigh. 

But the whole process, as exhilarating, terrifying, embarrassing, and annoying as it was, started with laughter because my editor had tucked into the package a Captain Underpants eraser. Nothing like a flying guy in undies to make you lighten up a bit.

I used that eraser a lot as I changed my mind on various issues. But it always reminded me to smile.  As did my editor's occasional non-editorial notes like: mmmm, pudding!  (Sorry, Cheryl, but that makes me think of  you as Homer Simpson. Which is so ridiculous that it makes me laugh. Again.) 

P.S. After I had mailed off the copy-edit package to the land of Will-Be-A-Real-Book-Soon, I decided to check out a new gym in the area: L.A. Boxing.  Every muscle in my upper body hurts today, two days later. But what I remember most was that as I tried to follow the instructor's combo drills, flailing at the mitts on his hands, ducking when I should've been hooking, crossing when I should've been jabbing, weaving when I should've been punching, I laughed. Several times. It really felt good.


  1. congratulations, sara. i love love revising! and i can't wait to read this book! =D

    you went to london with bubs the same age as mine. you were very brave. haha! it def was fun, but also challenging.

  2. Must keep your sense of humor!

    I just hope my revisions don't make my editor laugh...

  3. Sara,

    For me, laughter is a big part of my life. My crazy sense of humor has helped me to get through lots of tough times.

    Laughter is a wonderful catharsis!

    Good luck and good laughs with your revisions.

  4. How wonderful, Sara! A good sense of humor can get you through anything. And you have such a lovely laugh!

  5. I LOVE those Captain Underpants erasers! I stockpile them in my desk and give them out only to authors during the copyediting stage. I have only about 15 left, which, if I'm careful, should last me another three or four years.

    And Homer and I have a lot in common. Like the word "mmm," and a fondness for doughnuts.

  6. Thanks for this reminder. I think if we can laugh more throughout the entire process it becomes more like play and less like work.

  7. sounds like edits arent too bad - congrads :)

  8. HOW EXCITING that you're so close!...

  9. Hi, Sara~ I've been one of your blog lurkers, ever since I read LETTERS FROM RAPUNZEL for the Cybils last year and loved it so much. Anyway, I'm coming out of lurkdom because I'm so excited that someone else has the same fixation on being British when it comes to the word "grey." That was all over my copy edits, too.

    Anyway...congrats! Can't wait for your new book!

  10. Kate, it IS de-lurking week (or something like that according to MotherReader.) Thanks for making me feel not so alone in my grey-ish confusion. I think our books will be out at the same time!

    And thanks, all the rest of you gigglers out there, for commenting and keeping me sane.

  11. It's the things that are simultaneously exciting and terrifying that are worth the effort. And laughing is always good!


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.