Saturday, February 12, 2005

Preparing the Manuscript

Greg told me he'd prepare some comments for me, and have them to me by December 15, 2003. The contract specified that I'd have until February 1, 2004 to make the changes and submit an acceptable manuscript. Since I was by then a college professor of English, with a long Christmas vacation, I thought that would be no problem. He thought the book was too long-- because Haworth prices books based on page length, and he was worried my price would come in too high.

In November, I went back to the Miami Book Fair. On Sunday morning, I had a bad allergy attack and had to leave early. On my way out, though, I heard familiar music-- the song "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride," from Lilo and Stich. It's about surfing, and I really like it. So I stopped to watch a bunch of little kids dancing around on a stage to the song.

Something clicked, and I realized how I could cut some pages from the book. I went home, took some allergy medicine, and started to revise. By the time I was done, I had trimmed the manuscript from 450 pages to 350, changed the villain, and eliminated one murder. I thought it was a much stronger book, and quickly sent a revised copy to Greg.

I didn't hear anything from him by December 15. Finally, February 1, I emailed him again, noting that was the date I was supposed to have my revisions done by-- and I didn't even know what I had to revise. A few weeks later, he responded. He loved the new draft, and didn't think I had to change a word.

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