In my defense, I have been busy. Many, many things are happening, all of which combine to distract me and keep me from writing another entry for this accursed Blog. Yet here I am, on a Saturday morning, finally giving in and giving you, my minions, not only what you want, but also what you NEED.
I have been sitting here for half an hour, wondering what to write, determined that this entry will not be another Question and Answer session. Finally, out of sheer desperation, I have made the decision to ramble. And so here I am, rambling.
Mammy Cat is sitting on my printer. The printer is beside me, on the desk, and she’s curled up like a little grey curly ball of fluff, looking out the window at the rain and laughing at the unfortunate horses in the field beside me, who can’t curl up on anything, let alone a printer. Mammy Cat seems happy. She has been especially happy since I opened the garage door after three days, and she bounded out, free at last. Oops. For what it’s worth, she doesn’t seem to be holding her inadvertent incarceration against me, but cats are like that. The moment you let your guard down, they STRIKE.
(I let my guard down for a moment there, and when I looked around, Mammy Cat was poised on the edge of the printer, claws out and ready to leap. We locked eyes, and the claws retracted, then came out again lazily, like she’d only been practicing. But I know. Oh I know...)
I’m sitting here because I’m finishing up the final edits on Mortal Coil. What you have to understand is that when any writer says they are finished a book, they are lying. They don’t mean to lie. They don’t lie out of malicious intent. And some writers may even believe what they’re telling you. But it is a lie, nonetheless. For there is editing to do, and rewriting, and bits and pieces that appeared brilliant at the time, but are now quite obviously hideous rubbish.
A book is never finished until it’s on the bookshelves, and even then it’s not done. The writer, and readers, will spot typo’s and spelling errors and so, in the next print run, these things will (hopefully) be fixed. Every time I read a few pages of one of my books I spot another mistake, or something I wish I hadn’t written, or something I wish I could change. Such is a writer’s lot.
The edits I’m doing now are, hopefully, the final ones. I get notes from my editor, and my agent, and then I get notes from the copy-editor, whose job it is to make sure every sentence, you know, makes some sort of SENSE, and then I get notes from the real Valkyrie Cain, the girl who she is based on- my friend Laura.
Laura’s notes are unlike any of the others, because Laura uses blunt-force honesty in everything she does. For instance, if she thinks the first 80 pages are “kind of boring”, I’ll get a note written in the margins saying exactly that. The thing is, I take her notes ridiculously seriously. If she isn’t happy with any aspect of a book, I’ll change it until she is happy. Laura oversees quality control, and I have to say if you like reading Skulduggery, you have a lot to thank her for.
(Also she’s kind of scary, just like Valkyrie is, so I pretty much do what she tells me.)
She gave me her notes yesterday, and the nice thing is that there weren’t a whole lot of them. Here’s what she wrote at the end:
“All in all, I think it’s the most ‘finished’ version I’ve read so far. There’s nothing much to change at all, and I’m really quite impressed!”
That, my loyal minions, bodes well. If she likes it this much, I’m fairly confident you will, too.
I have another few hours of work ahead of me, rearranging the first 80 pages to get the excitement and the fun happening earlier in the story, but the end is in sight. I should be able to deliver this back to my editor on Sunday night, because the nice people at the printers are waiting to make some books. September 2nd isn’t that far away, after all.
What’s bizarre is that this will be my FIFTH book. I will have FIVE BOOKS out there in shops. You all know how fantastic I think I am, and with astonishingly good reason, but there is a part of me that still thinks I’m the new kid, I’m the writer who’s just starting out. And yet I’m about to publish my fifth book. I’ve been writing Skulduggery for exactly five years now, to the MONTH, but the first book was only published in April of 2007. Five books since 2007, a few awards, a few AMAZING tours, and a Munchkin Army, a legion of Ninja Leprechauns, and the best darn Minions out there.
That’s pretty good going.