Macmillan emailed me the copy-edited version of Zero Point, along with a list of questions from the copy editor and also a request that I supply acknowledgements and a dedication. They want all these sorted and returned by the 31st which shouldn’t be a problem, though I will wait on the hard copy so I can sit down with paper and pen to work through it. It’s noticeable how, in the email version, they’re now using a marked-up PDF document and I reckon on that becoming the way things will be done in the future i.e. a saving will be made on printing and postage. I don’t suppose it will take me very long to get used to that.
As for the acknowledgements and dedication, they ask earlier on if I would like a couple of pages saved for them. I tend to say yes, even when I’m not sure who I might acknowledge or who or what I might dedicate the book to (and also be in danger of repeating myself) because I suspect they are a case of ‘use them or lose them’. I also feel that just going nah, I won’t bother, is a bit lazy.
So, Penny Royal is on 32,741 words and I’ll soon be abandoning it for a while to turn my attention to this editing. When I return to Penny Royal I’ll have to deal with a growing feeling of ‘time to introduce another character or twist’ – time in fact to do what Raymond Chandler did when he felt things needed ramping up. His approach was to walk in a man with a gun. My approach has structural similarities to that but might be ‘time to bring in a massive brass android with a penchant for ripping off people’s heads’ or ‘time to bring in the ancient and thoroughly unpleasant Golgoloth’.
It’s something I’ll have to ponder.