Thursday, February 26, 2009

Short Delay . . .

I couldn't decide whether to label this post a 'short delay' or a 'minor setback.' In actuality it was neither - but I thought people probably wouldn't want to read about an almost MAJOR DISASTER. (And nope, it wasn't QUITE that bad either.)

Not long ago, I won a slot to pitch one of my children's books to an online publisher. Okay, so I totally bombed the interview. But, all was not lost. The gracious editors told me to submit the book - the whole thing -- when I felt it was "ready."

So--I got it out and did some revisions. Took it slowly and added some tweaks and perks and a few other minor things. Reread the book once, twice, three times. Thankfully, it was only 25,000 words. Short is good when you have to read it three times.

The third time I noticed something peculiar. Very, very odd. The manuscript for reasons of its own had shifted into a different font than I usually used. How it happened is anyone's guess. Frankly, I wouldn't hazard even an opinion considering my ability to do unspeakable things to electronic things just by looking their way.

So, I left the manuscrift in the weird font until I judged it "ready" to send. I changed the whole manuscript back into Times New Roman and then THINGS HAPPENED.

All of the quotation marks VANISHED. And they didn't just disappear, they changed into giant AAAAAAAA's. EVERY SINGLE QUOTATION mark. As if that wasn't bad enough, all the apostrophe's changed into equal signs. ALL OF THEM. Okay, I'm calm. I can deal with it. Sure, easy to fix.

So--the apostrophe's were easy. I did the find/replace feature and all the equal signs vanished. So then I tried the same thing with the giant A. Do you know what happens when you try to replace a giant A with a quotation mark? All the giant A's vanish. All the small a's vanish. You get quotation marks--lots and lots and lots of quotation marks in the WRONG places - like the middle of words. I never quite realized just how many a's you can have in 25,000 words.

Okay, so it wasn't going to be so easy to send this manuscript off. I worked three hours one day replacing quotes line by line. Didn't finish. On Wednesday, I virtuously took the laptop the the library to FINISH the thing, or else. So what happens? SOMEONE ELSE IS IN MY HIDDEN CUBBY!!! GRRRRRRRRR.....

Happily, I noticed a study desk and a PLUG right underneath. So now I have a second place to plug in - even if it is right out in the middle of the room. I sat down and kept at it for two and a half very long hours. Until I'd read through the manuscript a fourth time and replaced all the giant A's. In reading it that time, I realized just how many sentences I begin with A's. This time through, I changed a lot of 'as,' 'after,' and 'and' with stronger words.

So--it's off. They may like it. They may not. I feel relief for following through on an opportunity.

And now---it's time for the Daphne and the Genesis contest entries. Also time to write more unit studies for Gryphon House's new book titles. This time it's Insect, Animals and Ways to Save the Earth.

Feel like I'm slowly, slowly coming out of the backlog of everything.
Eventually, I will get everything done.

Tonight I'm feeling better for getting the VERY LAST of the Christmas presents done - um, for last year. Had planned to make my niece's Heather and Jenny each a framed scrapbook collage to celebrate a 2008 event. Jenny made the National Honor Society and Heather graduated from high school. My slowness was the result of having lost the program from Heather's graduation. But, tonight I finished assembling and wrapping them. Will have Jenny take them home when she comes on Friday night.

Also managed to put together some copies of my published stories in a scrapbook to take to school tomorrow. Some of the girls in my Fiber Arts class keep asking, "What do you write?" Now, I can show them.

Now if I could just finish those dirty darn doll clothes!


nlindabrit said...

Oh,my! After all your hard work, to have to slog through amending all those weird replacement letters! I wish you the very best of luck with the story!

Judy said...

What a load of trouble!! Glad you got it fixed and the ms off--will be keeping good thoughts for its progress with the editors! Also wishing you a gigantic win in some contest so you can purchase a brand new lappy with all the bells and whistles and none of the "bugs"!! (P.S. Windows Vista is a bug in itself--I wish I had XP back!)

PattyK said...

You poor thing. It's amazing the stuff that can go wrong right at deadline time. But one of your great strengths is perseverance, and I have no doubt that you're going to make it through to your writing dreams!

KC Sprayberry said...

Oh, Donna, I so feel for you. How awful! And after you worked so hard. It has to be in the formatting but I can't figure out how it gets there. Taking it slow was the right solution, even if you had to push some other things off. A lesson I'm learning as I edit my novel for submission to one of the three editors from SM09.

So, take a breath. Flex your fingers. Play a game or two or fifty of solitaire. Enjoy yourself for a few hours. It'll refresh you for the next attack - so you can go on the offensive.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Donna. That's horrible. Computers, I tell ya.......

I pray it's received well and published.

Take care, my friend.