Page Proofs: A Rant

I’m hard at work on the page proofs to the Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia.  It has reminded me, once again, that if there is a special underworld torment which authors are destined to undergo, it likely involves page proofs.

Many people can get through our educational system without having to write another draft of a paper.  Imagine, then, the mind-numbing horror that engulfs one who has written, read, revised, re-read, and re-revised a manuscript, only to be confronted with reading it yet again on a deadline.  It’s like a smelly, obnoxious house guest who you were so glad to see go, yet who shows up again “just for a few days.”  (To put my case in perspective, imagine going through that process with the same book for the third time in a row…)

Now, lengthy acquaintance with a manuscript doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t find out new things about it.  Unfortunately, what you find out are all the things that are wrong.  I don’t mean errors of grammar or spelling; those are easy enough to fix.  I mean using five words when two would suffice, or putting commas in the wrong places for hundreds of pages.  Every writer has weaknesses, and these become painfully obvious while reading the page proofs.  At this stage, though, it’s too late to fix any of this, so you wince, try to touch it up, and keep going.

Then there are the substantive errors.  For example, I’d love to rewrite part of the section on Dagon based on this, or correct some the material on Nitocris, or illuminate some of the background of Nodens.  I’d love to add some of the hints from Trail of Cthulhu about the origins of space mead, or beef up the entry on Rhan-Tegoth.  It’s too late now.  The book is what it is, and I’m stuck with it, all the good wrapped up with all the bad.

Nonetheless, I’m moving forward.

Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 10:14 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. But, wouldn’t all you’ve said mean you’d really need to put out a fourth edition at some point?

    She asked, innocently. And then ran like hell. 🙂

  2. Aieee!

  3. No. No. No. Just put out a couple special editions of Errata. One in English and another in Michael Aquino style Yuggothian. See if Blair Reynolds will illustrate them or maybe have the HPLHS put out a limited EP of gospel style songs based on your errata.

    Charge $66.66 for them and watch the money come in!!!

    BTW, I heard Toy Vault is going to put out a plush Ghoul with your likeness. Is that true?

  4. Or, perhaps, share those tidbits that have passed you by in this blog?

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