Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

August 1st, 2006
Cockroaches with wet nail polish

It took lots of courage to open the 8-pound FedEx package that was looming in my entryway. It was my edited manuscript and I knew that I had to start working on it ASAP. It is due back to Penguin in 15 days. But, the package was heavy and so were my thoughts about all the work that I still needed to do on my baby.

When I opened it, and started flipping through the pages, I thought that I was going to puke. It looked like cockroaches with wet, red nail polish burrowed through every single page, leaving a sticky, sickly film of red everywhere.

Copy editing at its finest.

If you ever want to feel like you can’t write, give your masterpiece to a profession copy editor. Or if you want to lose all your self-esteem, give your writing to a copy editor. Hell, if you want to feel like you just showed up for finals without studying, and only wearing a slip – give your work to a copy editor. I don’t even know what half the marks are on my 680-page manuscript mean! I am a lover and writer, not an editor!

I spent most of yesterday hyperventilating and contemplating poking my eyes out. I had no idea where to begin. So, I called my publisher and left a desperate message that went something like this: “Meg, it’s Teresa, I think I am about to poke my eyes out. I don’t know where to begin. I feel like a red tornado just hit my manuscript. Please call me when you get back into the office.”

I did not touch it. I left it alone in the corner of my desk, like a wet cat with sharp claws. So, this morning I spoke with my publisher. Great news! I don’t need to know what all those hieroglyphic-like marks mean!! I am once again a writer!! It is the typesetters job to fix them all. (God bless her!) Can someone please pass me a glass of champagne, this girl needs a drink!

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