Michael swallowed. It was all he could do to hold back tears of his own
I'm about 2/3 the way through the publisher's edits now and should be done no later than the middle of this week. I underestimated somewhat the extent of their changes and the amount of effort it was going to require from me--there are after all more than 600 pages, with at least something altered on almost every one. But my initial assessment remains valid that nothing fundamental is involved and the vast majority of it is barely noticeable stylistic tweaks. Most the "on every page" comes from alterations like inserting a space before ellipses or converting the "M-dash" style I used to the one the publisher prefers.
They are having me make a small number of substantive revisions, and I thought you might like a practical example. Below is the most significant change I've made so far (just three paragraphs long). They felt that Michael's reunion with his childhood pet Alex, the Siamese cat who becomes a powerful panther in the Afterlife, needed some emotional foundation. So I have added this little subsection into the scene in Chapter 8 where Michael ends up paying for a stranger's pet bird to have surgery. "Beaker" is the little parrot involved.
"Michael swallowed. It was all he could do to hold back tears of his own.
His comprehension of the man's suffering went beyond empathy. It evoked acute
memories of a tightly bonded pet in his own life, an atypically warm and placid
Siamese cat named Alex that had been rescued by his mother when a co-worker
moved to an apartment that forbade animals. Like Beaker, Alex had been a family
pet not intended specifically for Michael or his brother, both in grade school
at the time. And like Beaker, the cat had nonetheless of its own accord, and for
reasons that defied discovery, adhered with obvious preference to one person in
It had matured into a joyous, life-affirming symbiosis. Wherever Michael
went the cat could be found, perfectly content as long as it could be near him.
Alex had established ingenious habits to manifest his affection in ways
unobtrusive yet intimate, nesting himself in Michael's lap while he watched TV,
squeezing into the gap between the chair and the small of Michael's back at
homework time, draping himself on Michael's pillow each night like a set of
warm, hypnotically breathing earmuffs around his master's
Then, when the boys were in high school, Alex had developed lesions. A
patch of skin on his left hindquarter had erupted in a bloody sore the size of a
quarter, which gradually grew into an obviously agonizing malignancy affecting
the entire limb. By that time the cat could only drag the leg around
dysfunctionally. Nothing could be done, and at last Michael's near-hysteria at
the thought of life without his companion was overtaken by a resolve to end his
misery. Michael had insisted on accompanying his friend to that terminal
appointment with the vet, and as it turned out, when the day came only Michael
was able to go. Alone in the parking lot afterward, Michael had collapsed onto
the asphalt in a seizure of anguish, his keys hanging from the car door, such a
forlorn spectacle that the receptionist had abandoned her desk to come out and
hold him reassuringly until he regained enough composure to
It's great after such a long emotional relationship with the book to be experiencing this tangible evidence that it really is going to be published. The work that remains is taxing, but it's a good kind of work to have. :) - Mark