When I close my eyes, all I see is tracked changes. Inserted and deleted commas. Titles changed to italics. Inconsistently capitalized words put straight.
I’m working on the copy-edited manuscript for my next book, which I received on Friday. Given that it’s 650 pages and about 180,000 words, it stands to reason that I made a few typos and mistakes. A copy-edited manuscript is a fearsome thing to behold. In the old days (as recently as when I worked on The Road to the Dark Tower), all changes from the copy-edit stage forward were done on the printed manuscript. That meant that myriad hands added, deleted, scratched out, stetted and otherwise contributed to the typescript. Some poor soul had the ultimate responsibility for figuring out all this jumble and creating a revised manuscript from it. Nowadays, all the hen-scratching is in Word’s track changes. It still looks like a fright, but at least at some point a brave soul can say “accept all changes” and there will be the clean MS. Or, at least, one hopes so.
I have until Monday to review the copy-editor’s comments and queries and deliver the Word document to my editor. Shouldn’t be a problem. I already handled the 4-500 direct comment queries. Now all I have to do is go through the uncommented changes and fix anything that got broken in the process.
I got two checks in the mail last night. One was for my contribution to Screem #25 and the other was the semi-annual royalties for On Writing Horror. The first pretty much covered my registration for World Horror next year. The other bought a gallon of gas! But it means the book is still selling, after all this time. Still earning.
For fans of TV science fiction shows, last night’s Castle was a blast. It was called “Final Frontier” and was directed by Jonathan Frakes, who you might recognize as Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The murder mystery takes place at a Comic Con like event, at an “experience” booth that allows fans of a short-lived series to dress up and act out a scene from the show. Nebula-9 lasted only 12 episodes but has a cult following. Sound familiar? The writers put an amusing spin on it by having Castle sneer at the show. “They were canceled over a decade ago. After 12 episodes, which was 12 episodes too many…I’m a fan of *good* sci fi. Star Trek. Battlestar. That Joss Whedon show,” he says.
However, it turns out that Beckett was a Nebula-9 fan, which leads to playful banter between the two and a strong Beckett scene near the end when she explains why the show meant so much to her. A working phaser (built by a character played by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine alum Armin Shimerman) plays a major part in the plot. At one point, Castle does his “Shatner as Kirk” impression and they use a snippet of one of Shatner’s recent songs at the end. And Beckett has the last laugh when she agrees to put on her costume from the show. Fun all around.
Whenever Anne Dudek appears in the credits, you know she’s going to be more than just someone’s wife or a casual witness. She played Amber (aka “Cut-throat Bitch”) on House, and Betty Draper’s friend on Mad Men. Last week she was psycho momma on Criminal Minds and this week she was the brains behind the crime on The Mentalist. Also, when David Costabile (Gale Boetticher from Breaking Bad) is shown in passing as a janitor (on Elementary), you know he’s probably doing more than mopping up. Something I call “famous guest star syndrome.” I’m still hanging in with Elementary, by the way. Far better than I anticipated.
I’ve also been keeping up with the tense developments on Fringe (what on earth did Peter do to himself?) during its final season, and with the rather odd turn of events on Haven, where it turns out that Audrey is her own grandpa, or something like that. The Amazing Race is getting more interesting now that it’s down to a smaller number of teams. The “twinnies” should go so, I hope. You can’t blame them for taking advantage of the edge provided by picking up another team’s dropped money—there is a million dollars at stake, after all—but still. I did not think the team that lost the dough would be able to beg $100 in Bangladesh. That seemed like a fortune for that country.
I don’t know how much I’ll watch the election results as they come in tonight. I am interested—very interested, in fact—but I don’t know if I want to subject myself to the stress. I’m hopeful for the outcome, but I don’t need the stress!