Good, bad, or somewhere in-between, a blog post is happening this morning. Although I’ve enjoyed working on our Camden Writers’ book, Serving Up Memory, I’ve missed the actual writing process.
I looked at Kathryn Lovatt, our senior editor, yesterday and said something profound like, “I’m ready to get back to my own stuff.”And I am. So is she. One of the members in our group, Laura Lilly, is writing a novel this month, and Kathryn is thinking of doing the same. Me? I can’t/don’t write fiction (at least not yet), but I understand that nonfiction is acceptable too. Later today, I’ll be looking up those guidelines.
But now I want to share a short update on the anthology’s status and a story that I recalled yesterday. We’ve been working pretty much every single day, sometimes for six hours at a stretch to take care of each pesky little error. Lest you think that our product was flawed, it was not—and is not. (My group will be impressed that I could insert that em dash.)
Some people would not have even recognized errors, but we did. Example: All numbers from one to one hundred are spelled out according to The Chicago Manual of Style. We’re changing numerals to words when and where we can, BUT if doing so throws off the pagination, we’re not. We’re putting captions under most of the photographs but not all. For instance, one member does not want them under his pictures, and some, like advertisements, don’t need them.
Finally, the update. We’re uploading again tomorrow. Then again, we might wait until we look at the physical proofs that should arrive Monday. In any case, if our book is not available on Amazon again by this time next week (or before), then please contact one of us and say, “Let it go!”
With the dawning realization that readers might find fault with some of our editorial decisions, I decided to write an afterword last week. Or should I call it an epilogue? Kathryn suggested “A Final Word,” and I thought that was a perfect title. Below are a couple of paragraphs from it.
The process from inception to fruition has been a roller coaster ride from excitement to despair and confidence to doubt. When there was a disagreement about whether a comma should stay or go or whether a word should or should not be capitalized, a phrase separated by a dash or a colon, we used Google and referred to sources such as The Chicago Manual of Style.
Even then, we occasionally went in another direction. If contributors had strong feelings about something, we deferred in order to preserve the integrity of the individual writer’s work. The editorial process was indeed a balancing act between absolute correctness and respect for the artist’s voice. Along the way, we’ve learned many invaluable lessons.
Yesterday I remembered something my mother wrote about me in my baby book. I don’t have the book in front of me right now so I’m paraphrasing. “Jane doesn’t like to be reprimanded or told what to know. She knows better than to talk back, so she stands behind a door and mutters all sorts of things so that she can have the last word.”
Since the book is about memories of people and events that shaped our lives, “A Final Word” is yet another nod to my sweet mother.