Literary Hide-and-Seek with Terrorist Errors

Final Print out of Zombie

There is a redundancy in the process of book publishing that can make one feel like they are loosing their grip on sanity, or in this case that the damned zombies will never stop coming. If I were to count the number of drafts I have written over the past ten years, this book’s life, well, there aren’t enough fingers in the world for me to count them on my hands. (And, yes, I still count on my fingers! I like the self-congratulation of it all.)

In this latest and final draft of Zombie, every word has been type-set in a specific font, every interior photo has been placed. Chapter titles, numbers, punctuation, and, of course, content–it is all there in its final stage before it officially goes off to the manufacturer for production. Basically, it is a book in a print out form and it is my job to read it through with a fancy pen and tabs and mark the monster up–indicating typos, incorrect words, rogue spacing, incorrect Roman numerals, and on and on and on.

This: our final chance to make the book as close to perfect as possible.

The point? To seek out the hidden errors. The terrorist errors, as I like to call them–dug in deep and unwanting of freedom. To catch the  often illusive mistakes of the writer, editor, or copy editor is a difficult one to because the content can feel so familiar and apart of you that your eyes trick, skim and can un-see the very thing a stranger may very well see.

Prologue to the Apocalypse

I am one of a select few who will service this tedious stage of the book process, and while, yes, I refer to is as tedious or monotonous (and I am not wrong to do so either!) to go over the book at such a fine level (again!), it also is a clear and sharp reminder to me that in just about six months my little book about fathers and sons and drugs and monsters and how men are educated by these monsters, my little book will be pushed out into the wilderness with all of the other books and expected to survive, without error or at least with few.

In addition, I write this post on a day when sickness has taken me out of general activity, mostly any activity that requires sitting or standing. Saltines and Ginger Ale. Heating pads and tea with honey. And staring at the stack of 340 pages waiting in the corner of the room for me to feel better to continue such a negative task of literary hide-and-seek.

Keep on.

JRA

About J. R. Angelella

J. R. Angelella is the author of the popular debut novel ZOMBIE: A NOVEL (Soho Press) and a contributing author to the murder-mystery anthology WHO DONE IT? (Soho Teen), benefiting the nonprofit organization 826NYC. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, JMWW, The Collagist, Literary Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal and The Nervous Breakdown. His short story “Sauce” won the 2012 Short Story Contest held by The Coachella Review. He received a BA in English Literature from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. He taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and currently teaches professional writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer Kate Angelella.
This entry was posted in J-Rans, No Country for This Post, Soho Press, Zombie. Bookmark the permalink.

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