September 30, 2009

Novels and Children

Posted in Spellwright News at 10:26 am by blakecharlton

Sent the page proofs for SPELLWRIGHT off last night, my last chance to catch mistakes. I found the whole process rather nerve wracking. One can change very little in proofs; mostly it’s punctuation and grammar and the like. I often found myself fretting over larger issues that I could not tackle. But, knowing me, I was probably fretting out of habit. I’ve been doing so to this book since I was 20. So, likely the limited ability to edit was a good thing. The whole process gave me the sensation that sending off the final pages is a like helping one’s child move out of home. That’s a little insane of me. I have no children. But I kept thinking of the giant “Everything I needed to Know about Life I learned in Kindergarten” type posters that were everywhere about a decade ago. Here’s why:

Everything I needed to Know about Submitting a Final Manuscript for Publication I Learned from Moving my (Hypothetical) Kid into a College Dorm.

1) Some part of me is very sad the kid/book is leaving. I love him/her/it.

2) Well, actually, some other part of me is stoked kid/book is leaving. I was getting really sick of dealing with his/her/its mess.

3) I worry no one out there will love kid/book as much as I do, which is surely as much as she/he/it deserves to be loved.

4) I’m 99.99% certain that someone is going to be really horrible to kid/book, and I won’t be there to defend him/her/it.

5) I’m also 99.99% certain that I will only hear from book/kid when I am required to fork over money (promotion for book, spring break for kid).

6) Sometimes I wish I could have done better by book/kid to help him/her/it face the world.

7) Sometimes I’m pretty damn proud of kid/book and am sure she/he/it is going to take over the world.

8) Well, in any case, I’d better stop fretting about it and get back to work on the other kid / next book.



  1. Kei said,

    Yep… pretty good comparison. Really can’t wait to read it. I promise, I’ll take very good care of it when I bring it into my home.

  2. Kate Elliott said,

    Yes, this makes perfect sense to me.

  3. Tyson Perna said,

    I can promise the book will have good friends next to it on my shelf. Right now I’m thinking it will be next to Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind.

  4. Kei & Kate: good to know from those who have parented that i’m not off my rocker. now i’ll be able to say to actualized kid (if there is one), “see, aren’t you glad i practiced on novels?” :)

    Tyson: Ha! that’s fun to think about. Where does that put me, between Lewis Carroll & C. J. Cherryh? Unless you’re more of a sort-by-type than a sort-by-name bookshelf man.

  5. Jack Kincaid said,

    I like the comparison. Although, one major difference is we can’t become outraged when an editor says our child requires plastic surgery and a few rounds of therapy to resolve dysfunction. Well, we could, but it’s probably best that we don’t.

  6. Hahaha. It’s true. Sad, but true. OTOH, there is a “backspace” button for a novel. I don’t think they’ve installed one of those for kids yet ;)

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