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Thursday, August 29, 2013

House of Mystery Delivered to Publisher ... now comes the hard part

Cover image, House of Mystery (forthcoming, Saturnalia Books, 2014)
Actually, none of it's quite that easy or difficult, and it's not like I've done this dozens of times before, but when a poetry manuscript travels from my hard drive to my editor's email inbox, I start to wonder

* Are these poems any good?

* Are they in the right order?

* Are they half as good as the ones in my last book?

* Are my obsessions and interests compelling to anyone besides my mother?

* Are there egregious mis-usages, grammatical errors that will forever brand me a diction dolt? Dangling participles/modifiers, split infinitives, an I for a my, and a tool for a tooth?

Goodness, I hope not.

My editor will help me weed out the weakest poetic concoctions and let me know if  a poem sticks out like a cowlick in a perfectly groomed section. Thank you, Henry!

As for whether or not my topic choices are compelling, well, what can you do? I tried my best!

An in-house copy editor will comb through the book like a top-notch stylist, but I also used Grammarly, an online grammar check device, to double check my locules and galumphs. I'm quite confident about my ability to spot grammatical errors. However, as I put my poems through Grammarly's paces, I was impressed with its ability to flag easily confused words and spot punctuation errors. Grammarly forced me to examine the book more closely. Instead of simply scanning chunks of text, I found myself at the level of the word, where all writers need to be.

The next three months will be all about spit-shining, getting House of Mystery to shine like a mint-condition Mustang. When I hear the UPS guy knocking on my door, a big box of House of Mystery in his arms, I know all the eye strain and double/triple/quadruple checking will be worth it.


Jan Priddy, Oregon said...

My best wishes for a speedy recovery from the next weeks!

Martha Silano said...

Jan - not sure what I am recovering from: eye strain? summer vacation? Regardless, thanks for the wishes!