Thursday, August 09, 2012

Writing from the Bush

My family has owned a camp in the northern Maine woods for nearly a hundred years, and my immediate family gets one week each year. Our week just ended, so this post comes to you as I depart the wilds and search of not a hot shower and a change of clothes, but cellular service.

It was a great week, one of rest, fishing, swimming, late-night fires, and reading. I finished "Winter's Bone" by Daniel Woodrell. I have not seen the movie, but the book is to die for. Woodrell's language is stunning, his sense of place captivating, and his story line ferocious.  

My own work this week consisted of going back and re-examining the novel I sold in July. I wrote "This One Day" three years ago and wanted to revisit it with fresh eyes. After I had listened to the entire manuscript, catching small errors as I went and revising the conclusion, I e-mailed my publisher to say I had an updated manuscript for them.

This, I learned, is a no-no. They bought the book as is, and I cannot turn in a second version. Interesting and a little frustrating. Am I to print the new version, lay it side by side with the old, and manually insert my changes? I'm waiting to be assigned an editor and will attempt to reason with him or her.

I'm sure there is a logical reason for this stance. The house publishes many books each year, so from a logistical point of view I can see the reasoning: No one wants two versions floating around in-house. However, the book is better after a careful revision, and my goal is to produce the best book I can. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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