Last Chance

October 14, 2008 at 1:34 am (General)

This weekend I had page proofs to read.  They’re for ETERNAL MOON, the werewolf book whose cover I showed you a couple of weeks ago.

I’m going to Calgary later this week–so I can give a couple of Saturday workshops to Calgary Romance Writers of America.  So I had to do the manuscript right away so I could get it back to Berkley before the deadline.

As I was working, I thought about my writing habits.  The parts I like least are the first draft and the galleys.  I hate facing a blank page.  So I write my first draft as fast as I can.  Once I get that draft, I can edit it within an inch of its life.  Every book I write goes through four or five edits.  One on the screen and then three or four on paper, because everything changes, and I see the manuscript differently when it’s on paper.

That’s just the way I work.  I can’t get the story and the characters all at once.  I have to layer my way into a good story.  And doing those layers is incredibly satisfying to me.

Then–-months later–I get the copyedited manuscript.  I always cringe as I wonder what questions the copy editor will ask me.  I look down the right side of the pages to see how many yellow Post-It notes I see–because they have the questions I’m going to have to answer.

But I also think of the copyedited manuscript as an opportunity.  I haven’t seen the book in a long time.  Now I can read it with fresh eyes.  This is my last chance to catch places where I’ve used the same word five times in a row.  Or where I forgot the name of the bad guy’s imaginary daughter.  (Yeah, I did that.  And I caught it, not the copy editor.)

But I also get some wonderful opportunities to make the book as good as it can be.  Do the emotions of the characters shine through?  Are the love scenes hot?  Is there anything awkward about them?  Are the danger scenes frightening?  Is the pace of the novel working?  Do I need to take out any sentences?  Did I give the reader enough gratification at the end?

Since I haven’t seen this manuscript in a long time, I can react to it the way you would.   The good news is that I enjoyed reading ETERNAL MOON.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, and I had that usual experience with galleys–“I wrote that?”

If you’re a writer, what do you like best about the process?  And what do you like least?

If you’re a reader, what do you want to see in a book?  What don’t you want to see?

To be brutally honest, the best part for me is when I’ve sold a book–and I don’t have to start writing it yet! <g>



  1. Savanna Kougar said,

    Rebecca, my fave part of writing is creating the story, and making it as fun and adventurous as possible. My second favorite part is reading it for edits because like you say, it’s with fresh eyes, and I get to enjoy it again, even if I struggle with some of the edits. Fortunately, not that many. Except when I did an experimental POV thing.
    BTW, what a fantastic cover!

  2. Rebecca York said,

    I was worried about one POV in ETERNAL MOON. I have a couple of scenes from the POV of a dog, and I was holding my breath, waiting to see if that got past the editor. I guess she bought it.

  3. Beth C. said,

    The best part for me is creating the story. So my first two drafts are the fun (the first draft to get the bare bones on paper and the second draft to fill in details I didn’t know were there). After that, I pretty much do the edits because I have to.

    And sending it out and waiting for an editor response is just nerves. No fun there at all. And more nerves once its released because you don’t know if people who buy it will like.

  4. Lou Gagliardi said,

    I like creating the story, and watching it unfold. I hate my internal editor and my inability to get finished

  5. Teresa D'Amario said,

    For me, I like the editing process too. I work “magic” during the edits instead of on first draft. That’s my favorite part.

  6. Cathy said,

    When I read a book I want to see in the imagery that the author has created. The world, the people, their feeling, their right to be real in the pages.
    What can just dump rain on my reading is when the editor or proofer doesn’t catch that the bad guy’s name was John and the hero was Mark and John was making love to Jane in chapter 6, and he has yet to meet her, oops. Or Sharon was born in 1850, but turned 18 in 1872, uh? I’m a date freak, and it drives me batty when time lines don’t match up.

  7. Rebecca York said,

    Beth, my outline may be like your first draft. But I’ve created the story in miniature. Getting the shape of a whole story in an outline is very satisfying to me.

  8. Rebekah said,


    I dont know if this is the right place but I couldn’t find a contact button. I read this blog everyday and was wondering if one of the administrators could please contact me off loop regarding ARRC09

    Thanks in Advance


  9. Teresa D'Amario said,

    Hi Rebekah,

    I’d love to contact you, but you forgot to leave your email address. You leave a valid point though, I’ll have to add my contact point somewhere. If I haven’t found you by the time you read this, email me at

  10. Raonaid said,

    What I want to see… Well with any story I read, I like to have the writer/author paint so vividly their characters and the world within my mind. That while I’m reading, I could envision the scene playing out in the mind.

    What I don’t want to see in books. I can understand the occasional undetected typos. I get that happens. But all through a book does tend to get tiresome

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