I have the copy edits back from the copy editor, and I am very happy (and relieved). She wrote some lovely things about my book, and while I suppose they always are positive about the books editors have paid for them to edit, they felt like lovely compliments just when my confidence was sliding a bit. In education, people are looking for things they don't like, things that don't really work. She was very focused on things that did, which is very helpful because I can work on those in the sequel.
The manuscript, which she described as 'such a clean script!' is now completely covered with red corrections, some as small as an errant dot or comma, some a couple of words that scan better. I can hardly disagree with any of them, and of the short list of things to work on, only one really got me thinking how to solve it. Such a relief!
The copy edit process is also a great learning tool. The editor has pointed out stray Americanisms, old-fashioned writing style, anachronisms, formatting preferences for Del Rey UK, that sort of thing, that will make it easier to get those right from the start with future books. A great bonus for me, and free!
I also met a local writer. It turns out I have the writer of five published novels living right here in my home town, and she has just turned book 6 over to her agent. It was amazing to talk to someone who has been down the road before, has a real understanding of the publishing process...from the writer's point of view. She also has put me in touch with writing groups in the area, and I hope we can keep in touch, she really inspired me to stop worrying about what 'they' think and just ask. I think I've been anxious not to appear like I don't know what I'm doing, but in all honesty, the ONLY thing I know how to do is write, rewrite, polish and edit. As a lovely agent I met in the summer said, 'that's the bit we can't do...or we would be doing it instead of you.' I've been offered so much help from the publisher and my agent, I should just access it. The writing community is so generous, I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged and pushed me along. Which will be a theme this week when I write my acknowledgements, of course...
Last thing...this is a gratuitous picture of a badger. They come up to the front door to snaffle bird seed and steam up the window, and I finally got a close up of 'Small'. In this picture he was five feet away, and I stayed behind the door (because they can give a dangerous bite). He was so busy licking the stones, I had to whistle to get him to look back.