Saturday, January 24, 2009

Orbus Edit.

Okay, I’m now about halfway through the Peter Lavery edited typescript of Orbus. Though this is a thoroughly necessary part of the process, it is also a chore. Yeah, you guys haven’t read it yet so will hopefully enjoy the process. I, however, have read this in part and total and even backwards more times than I care to count. It’s engraved on the inside of my skull and actually trying to detect errors now requires an effort of will – I must read what’s written in front of me rather than the engraving.

Another problem – something to do with posture – is that after a few hours of this editing I end up with my neck stiff and burning. It was worse when I used to refer to sheets stacked beside me, improved when I affixed them to a piece of card positioned below my screen, but is still a pain.

But I can of course understand how many reading this will wonder, “What the hell has he got to complain about?” Yeah, I don’t have to get up to drive to work, clock in, avoid colleagues with BO or have to put up with a boss with the brains of a worm and personality to match. The dirtiest I get is when refilling printer cartridges and, as yet I am in no danger of losing my job … or my house. Really, I’m just trying to give readers a look at some of what’s involved in putting that book in front of them.

Once I’ve finished this particular batch of editing and return it to Macmillan, I later get it back from the copy editor, and must check through it again. It then comes back a third time for me to check the finished product. Still, doubtless, there will be mistakes for which I can only apologise, and put down to having been pushed beyond my boredom threshold. The glamorous life a writer, eh?

9 comments:

Mark Chitty said...

To save you any hassle I'd be more than happy to read it for you ;)

packrat54 said...

You may want to check with your local authorities, they may have some ergonomic regulations to help reduce the burning in your neck. My recommendation would be take a break with a good heating pad and a pint or glass of your favorite.

Thud said...

God is in the details....and the grunt work.

willisnoo said...

All efforts deeply, deeply appreciated, Neal :D

Any chance the cover art will pop up soon?

BTW, just wonder have you ever considered producing a full length novel with first person narrative? I've found out quite a few of your short stories were written in that way.

Neal Asher said...

A thought, Mark.

packrat54, I use a heated beanbag and take a break. Local authority, yeah, right.

Thud, unavoidable and sometimes impossible to delegate.

I'll ask about the cover art. There should also be new artwork on the way for the first four books. As for first-person, I have that from the POV of the main character in Hilldiggers. I also started out that way with the present book, but it wasn't working.

Alex Cull said...

When you wrote "actually trying to detect errors now requires an effort of will", I understand that very well & have the same problem. I find it essential to leave something for even a day or so, then come back to it with fresh eyes - errors that were somehow hidden now stand out clear as day, and I end up wondering how I could ever have missed something that obvious.

I'm really looking forward to Orbus now. Starting to think reading this will probably be one of the high points of 2009.

daniel said...

frankly it always makes me chuckle when i find spelling errors on the first page of your books - and nowhere else - neal - it's almost like an inside joke! ;-)

well all efforts are appreciated, i assure you, as i do go through the rigmarole you so eloquently described everyday at my hellhole of a job.

gary gibson said...

Be careful of that back pain, it put me out of work for most of a year a while back. Mind you, I did manage to write Stealing Light, so silver linings, etc.

Stross uses a Herman Miller Aeron chair, but they're pretty expensive, even second-hand. I've seen some nice ergonomic-style ones in Ikea that are obviously modelled after chairs like the Aeron, but still cost a couple of hundred. But something that reduces the strain on your neck and back is worth investing in.

Neal Asher said...

Gary, like you I already have invested in it ... living somewhere hot. That aside, I don't get it very much when actually writing. I think it's the perpetually tilting my head down to check the typescript that does it. Weird, isn't it, as a profession you'd think writing wouldn't bugger you up physically. Another one I get is pains in my finger ends and one finger end, for some reason, that's perpetually cold.