Saturday, November 11, 2006

BookBookBook Angst

I am in a reading group for the leaders of my local attachment parenting group. We meet monthly to talk about new books in the field. This month's assigned book, a pathetic little book slim on ideas and very VERY poorly edited, keeps making me panic. Rather than grappling with the author's perspectives, all I can do it pray that people who read my own book will not be as critical as I am. And pray that my writing will not be as awful as hers. And that my press will give the manuscript to a decent copy editor to save me from humiliations.

* * *

Last night I dreamed that my book was already out. Although I am writing a historical study designed primarily for an academic audience, the university press decided that the book had mainstream appeal. In order to capitalize on that fact, they choose to publish the book as a piece of pulp fiction with a racy cover, with that fake butter guy and a plantation house in the background and everything. And the copy editor, rather than cleaning up any of my awkward writing, inserted weird comments in brackets to point out my foibles to all the readers who bought the book hoping for a romance novel.

* * *

And now I am totally crazy, unable to think about anything but the future of the book. I spent five hours without breathing this afternoon trying to do final edits. Then I hopped up and down for three minutes, knit a single purl row on Swallowtail (which, in its brand new incarnation, is behaving well), finally regained my ability to speak coherently, and then started craving spicy food.

* * *

Knit knit knit. I cannot imagine sleeping. Knit knit knit.


hege said...

That's funny, a romance book cover with Fabio :) Fortunately it was just a dream, but those things can seem so real some time!

Stuntmother said...

I can hardly imagine the depths of your angst. I have just been sitting here sobbing over my computer because I am trying to write a novel and I am convinced it is crap, that there is laundry to be done and simply not enough life to fit everything I need to do into.

I feel a shadow of what your day must have been like and I am reaching out a virtual hand to squeeze yours and to tell you that you are fine. You are clearly a marvellous writer and that you are critical only means your book will be better for it.

Go you. Go me, dammit. Stop commenting, Francesca and get to work.

Sheepish Annie said...

Why is it that the things we love are the things that have the power to make us so crazy? I guess that's why the whole writing thing never worked out for me! Well, that and the fact that I lack the talent or attention span to do it on a professional level... ;)

Hang in there! Giving life to something is always rough. But worth it in the end!

Specs said...

Oh no. I can't believe what your editors have done to your book. Do they not understand the concept of non-fiction at all?

Can you make up a respectable book cover and go around slipping onto the books once they hit the shelves? Send me a bunch and I'll take care of any copies I find in the Southeast :)

Bonnie said...

As a copy editor, I am really sorry to hear one of my partners in red marks only made life more difficult for you. That is the opposite of what we should do--which is make everybody's writing be the very best it can be!

I'm glad to hear your Swallowtail is behaving nicely!!!!

Kate A. said...

Wow, the story of your dream/nightmare made me laugh, and weep. I been there! The sad fact is that there's no such thing as editing for almost any academic book anymore. Every new book I see is covered with typos. Now you have to be your own professional editor, on top of all the other hats we have to wear, yet no one even considers training graduate students in how to write well (which, in part, means writing *clearly* of course!)...people either learn it by osmosis, or don't.

Fabio probably wouldn't do on my future book, but I do fear that it's all too likely to get one of those misty, early-19thC portraits of an anonymous noblewoman that will make it look like yet ANOTHER book the world doesn't need about Pushkin's girlfriends. That's certainly what everyone in Russia thought I was writing about no matter how much I said to the contrary....Sigh.

Nevertheless, I shall soldier on.

Not quite dauntless, but determined.

Or maybe just desperate, I'm not honestly sure.

TheAmpuT said...

For very different reasons, I have angst and nightmares and anxiety and, well...not jumping...and not knitting...but this is really making me think about casting on for the lace shawl that I've been waiting to do until one other project is off the needles. I'm either doing Swallowtail, too...or the Forest Canopy...and reading this makes me think maybe I do need to cast on sooner rather than later.
Hang in there.........


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