Monday, March 3, 2014

This Novel is Not Your Palimpsest, Yo

Here's something weird: I delivered my notes on the novel proof copy today. It's very strange and unsettling to think that this is the last (or near last) time I will ever have the opportunity to change the words on the page. For 15 years, the luxury (I thought torture) was that I could change anything, any time, and change it back, and noodle around as much as I pleased. I did it quite a bit over the years, ever striving for perfect results.  The thing is that when you change one little thing–a word, a phrase, a relationship between characters–it has all sorts of rippling effects you cannot anticipate. So, there never really is such a thing as perfection, I think. It's always changing, but now here we are; this is it. No more chances to change the words. They stick as they are, as close to perfect as it ever gets, which is probably not very. How do you know when you're done with something? When the publisher rips it out of your clutching hands? I guess so. It's disconcerting.

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