Since turning in the first draft of George Lucas back in March, the manuscript has been through the hands of my editor at Little, Brown, John Parsley, vetted by the legal department, and then given a rigorous copyediting. Now it’s landed back on my desk, where I’ve got until next week to finish it all up, answer any questions my editors might have, add any new material (Lucas Pulls His Museum From Chicago!), make sure the endnotes are correct, and generally make any necessary tweaks and revisions before sending it off to production.
There’s a lot going on in the margins of an edited manuscript; the document is edited with Word’s ‘Track Changes’ function on so you can see every change to the draft and — one of my favorite parts — read the comments from the various editors where they ask whether a suggested edit works, seek clarification, or even just maintain a friendly running commentary, like a less sarcastic MST3K. And, of course, I can’t resist making my own comments as I go through it, either.
And seriously, guys: editors and copyeditors are amazing. They not only edit for clarity, for instance, but they also fact-check things, remind you when you’ve used a quote twice, or somehow manage to clean up and make better sense of hundreds and hundreds of endnotes. I’m always impressed.
Wanna see what the Table of Contents for George Lucas looks like on my computer screen as it’s being edited with the ‘Track Changes’ function on? Have a look:
And now, back to it. I’ve gotta get this done, if you’re gonna have it in your hands on December 6.
My own “last things” (proofs, etc.) gave me enough anxiety to last a few months. I was my own legal department and think I should at least get an honorary degree. Anyway, looking forward to reading the George Lucas book and also featuring it in my library (a community college). I’m using biography to teach research classes this semester–Jim Henson will be on the list, and if this experiment works out with the students, George Lucas will be on next the Spring 2017 semester’s list.