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Monday, September 13, 2010
Final Edits on Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead
This time what I have here are "galley proofs," typeset pages that are almost exactly the book as it will appear next in ARCs, the bound galleys that go out early to reviewers. Voice of the Undead doesn't come out until July of 2011, so likely the ARC won't even come for many months. But now is the time to make last edits. In this case, I'm going through the printout of the book-- some pages are stapled together, where editors have made minor changes and re-stapled in order to maintain pagination-- and making notes in pencil.
It's very strange to be at this point with Voice of the Undead. Reading through it this week was my first time looking at it in a couple of months, and actually I think it reads better than Book 1. For one thing, it benefits from the fact that all the characters are in place, and now we can follow them around without having to re-introduce anyone.
In Voice of the Undead, Alex faces off against a very old vampire who has the ability to bend people to his will. It's an opportunity to explore Alex's own resourcefulness and the extent of Alex's "static," the ability he has to sense vampires. But along the way, we get more character interplay, and even more-- slightly more-- romance.
I think perhaps the strangest aspect of writing these books for publication with HarperTeen is that as writers we tend to be very protective of every idea we have. We want our first version to be the best, as if somehow not only our ego but the actual value of the book itself is contained in the feverish first draft. But it isn't so-- I've been writing for a fair amount of time, but I've learned recently to slow down, to re-work. Your ego does not exist in the first draft. If there must be ego, it exists in the final product. The final product will have your name on it and be bought by people around the world. Moreover, the final product will be the work of many people beyond the writer, and all of them are taking risks. You owe them a book they can show to their moms. The process of building a book for publication is the process of embracing the fact that you are not alone, whether you like it or now.