Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Galleys and Poodles

Author galleys are the last stop before a writer relinquishes a book for good. Having the author, as well as the publisher, go over the galleys serves a very useful purpose: The author cannot then scream about typos, since he or she had every chance to catch them. On the other hand, the publisher risks having the author begin to rewrite on the galleys, with higher costs to then have the pages reset.

I am resisting this impulse as I go over the galleys for my novel Dogs, due out in July from Tachyon Press. My hope is to finish correcting the proofs before I leave for the Nebulas in Austin, on Thursday morning. The galleys are pretty clean, as these things go, but I see a lot of word choices, sentence structures, and even scene arrangements that I wish I'd done differently. Too late. To quote a popular cliche, now the book is what it is.

Dogs is about a mutated virus that affects dogs' brains, turning even sweet-natured pets into killers. The major characters are an animal control officer who must cope with a town full of suddenly dangerous dogs plus their baffled, furious, terrified, or resistant owners; and a female ex-FBI agent who suspects there is more going on here than at first appears. One of the pleasures of writing a book like this is getting to put in all the real dogs one wishes -- much more satisfying than including real people in novels. In Dogs, I found roles for my toy poodle, my agent's Bernese mountain, a friend's beagle, another friend's ancient cocker spaniel, and a huge, 180-pound Newfoundland I encountered in the vet's office. "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of publishing..."

Or something like that.


cd said...

I just can't believe you kill dogs -- dogs! -- in this novel. Could you fix that in the galleys? Maybe, you know, make it rats or weasels instead that carry disease? Surely the press wouldn't mind.

Kosmo said...

Sounds like an interesting premise, Nancy. I'll be sure to check it out.