This Is the Story of You: on page proofs and distance

Friday, June 5, 2015

It has been a week of many words. A read and review of a very favorite author for the Chicago Tribune. The final page proofing of Love: A Philadelphia Affair, due out in September. The new afterword for the fourth edition of Handling the Truth. Revisions of the talk about home (what we learn about it in the novels we read) for the Moravian Writers' Conference, to be held this very weekend. And then, yesterday, this: the arrival of the proof pages for This Is the Story of You, a mystery set in the aftermath of a Jersey-style storm, due out from Chronicle next spring.

I'm going to leave this particular work until next week—unsure of my ability to read the story right just now. But what I want to say in this moment is this: time is our biggest ally in this writing life. The distance the process—from writing to redrafting to editing to copy editing to proof page reading—gives us from our own work. I needed months between the copy editing of Love and the proofing to see what problems still existed. I needed two years since the publication of Handling to know what else I had to say about memoir (and to be able to say it all in 1,000 words). I needed three weeks to re-read many beloved novels to know what I think about literary home, and then another week of writing and revisions to get the talk in order.

As I have needed time away from Story, which was written more than a year ago, to know if I've written as purely and truly and meaningfully as I could. I won't know, precisely, what is in those pages until I sit with them again. The mystery is a mystery to me. I have one last chance to figure out if it works.


Serena said...

You know that I cannot wait for LOVE...and this new exciting.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

We are tracking today. As I was walking my dog I realized writing (for me) is about showing up enough to start to reach the end of all the mistakes I can make. Just start, though. :)

And the only way to do that is with time. xo

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Beth, you always amaze me. I enjoy reading all your work as well as your blog. Ladies, to get to that point of copy-editing a longer work for publication, my dream. But until then, I will continue to read and revise my memoir manuscript about attending college with five children in tow, and of course, I will continue to learn from you all. Thanks, Beth!

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