• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

In Case You Thought All A Writer Does is Write…

Home again, after DragonCon, with different kind of work to hand: The publisher sent _both_ the copyedited ms. _and_ the first-pass galleys to my hotel in Atlanta, with the request that I process them simultaneously (ak!), to save time. Which means, theoretically, reading the copyedit and responding to queries, checking marks, etc.–then transferring all markings to the first-pass galleys, and in the process, proof-reading the galleys, in case of errors introduced by the typesetting. _And_ in the process, filling in any still-missing square brackets/additional bits.

The kicker here being that this is my first AND ONLY chance to read and correct the ms. before it goes to the printer. And it needs to be done by Sept. 20th.

Oooookay. So my plan is:

1. Proof the galleys first. Read with no distraction, fix any errors, mark anything (like empty square brackets or questionable bits) for later fill-in.

2. Read the copyedited ms., side by side with galleys (mind, the pages don’t _match_, as the copyedit was done on a printout of the revised ms., not on a printout of the galleys), answer all queries, and transfer all approved markings to the galleys. This will be the slowest part.

3. Paste in/append insertions of Gaelic–these are numerous, and owing to the fact that Gaelic is unfamiliar to typesetters (i.e., they can’t tell what a Gaelic word is _supposed_ to look like, and can therefore easily misspell them), the bits need to be provided _in type_, rather than handwritten (know from bitter experience that typesetters routinely mistake “r” for “v” and “n” for “m” when reading Gaelic insertions done by hand). I’ll print the pieces (on separate pages) and staple them to the relevant galley pages.

4. Write, print, and append auxiliary material: Dedication, Acks, Author’s Notes, and Glossary. (The Author’s Notes are mostly written already, and the Acks roughed out. Dedication is the work of a few moments–but the Glossary needs to be compiled _from_ steps one and two, above, words being added as I go through the ms.) These then need to be proofed, as well.

5. Consult all notes from beta readers and be sure all errors and questions have been addressed.

6. If time, read Whole Damn Thing again when complete. Also if time, make copy of WDT and have assistant proof-read, too, extra eyes being useful (but not all that useful during preliminary phases, as many errors will have already been caught and new stuff hasn’t been added yet).

That’s the Major Thing that needs to be done over the next weeks. On the other hand, really don’t want to go without writing for that long (and wanting very much to dig into WRITTEN); likewise, doing too much proofing at a stretch is counter-productive, because you start reading too fast and imagining–rather than really seeing–what’s on the page. So goal is to proof for an hour or so at a time, with a goal of processing 150 pages a day (I can effectively proof/process about 30 pages an hour), and during breaks, write stuff. (Besides WRITTEN, I have an essay on “Dr. Who” for a small anthology, and the novella about Michael and Joan, due in November. And, of course, there’s always stuff for OCII…). Also resume regular exercise routine (can’t usually keep this up while traveling, particularly not if doing constant events)–walk five miles a day, regular stretches and weights in the morning, half-hour stationary bike or swim in evening.

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117 Responses »

  1. I have no idea how you’d do that. I finished doing my copy editing a few months ago and just now received the First Pass request. And my book’s only about 330 pages. I’m assuming yours is about double that. Wow. Good luck with that!

    • Dear Genevieve–

      Congratulations! What’s the title of your book?

      I finished {pant,gasp,wheeze} on Friday, FedExed the corrected ms. _everywhere_, then went to New York on Saturday, to attend the Brooklyn Book Festival. Just came back today. I still need to cross-check and proof the auxiliary material–the Acks, dedication, and Author’s Notes–for SCOTTISH PRISONER, and shoot those off to the publisher, but that stuff is all written, and can be done tomorrow morning. Then…on with WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD! (aka Book Eight)


      • Did you really say that the ‘Scottish Prisoner’ is almost done and dusted, and that your focus was now ‘Written in my Own Hearts Blood’!

        The world can now breathe a sigh of relief, and in turn gasp in anticipation!

        From all your devoted followers our heartfelt THANKS!

        Warmest regards
        Antipodean Janet

  2. Okay, this is totally off subject but I didn’t know where else to post….

    We just watched “Thor” last night. The movie itself left MUCH to be desired except for the main actor, Chris Hemsworth. ALL I could think as I was watching him in this character in particular (long, red hair, bright blue eyes, tall…) was that he would be perfect playing Jamie Fraser should the Outlander series ever (hopefully!) become a movie!

    Can NOT wait for “Bloody Men”!!

    Thank you for providing hours of enjoyment-thoroughly enjoy your writing Diana!


    • Greetings Jennifer,

      Talented Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth is indeed a Jamie worthy ‘hunk’ as we say here ‘Down Under’.

      I would be just a little worried about how well gorgeous Chris Hemsworth might master a Scottish accent.

      If we are ever lucky enough to see an ‘Outlander’ series we would have to have actors capable of conveying convincing Scots/Gaelic and British accents. To do otherwise would be sacrilege.

      Antipodean Janet
      71 Days until ‘Scottish Prisoner’

  3. Thank you for all your hard work! I just finished Book 7 and this is the first time I don’t have a book ready and waiting for me! I am seriously depressed. In case you find some extra, extra time working on Book 8 (Written) would be greatly appreciated because I HAVE to find out what happened with everything at the end of Echo in the Bone. :)

    Thanks for such a wonderful series. At least I will have Scottish Prisoner in November to hopefully hold me over until Book 8 comes out. :)

  4. We watched “Thor” last night too! Chris Hemsworth does indeed have many “Fraser” qualities…the height for sure! And the amazing Blue eyes…and definitely the anger, but I’m not sure about the more sensitive aspects of our “Dear” Jaime…he’s verra complicated after all!
    I vasilate between hoping for a movie, and …not…the personal version is hard to live up to…

    • When reading Jamie’s words, I hear Laim Neeson’s voice (close your eyes, ladies, Liam’s voice is like melted butter!). Jamie can’t be too pretty–more like ruggedly handsome. He becomes more attractive the better you know him.

  5. Heavens, editing certainly cannot ever be considered easy, can it? I already admired you greatly, Diana, but reading this makes me wonder if I really do have the ability to write after all (looks like writing is just the beginning).

    A friend and I are doing a re-read (and I think I have her convinced she needs to read the Lord Johns as well LOL)…and even though this must be my 15th read of Dragonfly In Amber, I just realized that John is William when we first meet him???

    I also dropped my jaw when Jenny talks about Dougal coming to get Jamie to foster…after your last excerpt of Book Eight, I wonder exactly who else Dougal may meet on that trip to Lallybroch?? (trying to ask that question without mentioning too much of the excerpt in case people reading these comments don’t read the excerpts)

    Looking forward to Scottish Prisoner and of course to Book Eight…

    • Okay–replying to myself here (embarrassed grin)…Got to Voyager and realized that John is “John William Grey” and that every once in a while, my memory fails me these days even after multiple re-reads (which gives me a totally acceptable reason to reread LOL)…thank you so much for the wonderous world of Claire and Jamie (and yes, I saw you mention in a reply that your novellas are filling in the gaps of the stories, so I also await Master Raymond’s story “someday”).

  6. All I can say is Wow! You are one busy lady and kudos to you for all the work that you put into one of your books. It truly is a labor of love and the love you must get from your fans for it. Can’t wait to read Book 8 and the Scottish Prisoner! Good Luck!

  7. I’m thrilled about Book 8. I’m a “late bloomer” only discovered the Outlander series last year. I’ve been a devoted listener. I love the audio books. Davina Porter is superb. Thank you so very much for writing such a wonderful story, that continues on beautifully. I’ve read other lengthy series and they all seem to wane toward the end. Not Outlander, I’m as enthralled with the latest as I was with the first. Bless you. Can’t wait until next year!. In the mean time, back to Lord John :O) !

  8. oooooh — it makes my eyes and head hurt just to know what your days are like!
    You must be a lot more organized than I have EVER been!
    and I agree with whoever said it was no wonder Hemingway drank!

  9. One can only hope you manage to fit some eating in there as well. Sounds like you need sustenance!

  10. I am trying to find out where or when I can purchase a copy of “The Firy Cross” in the unabridged audio form. Read the series at least seven times and have listened to the audio forms any more! I have all but the one in question on my IPod. Helps with the house work and yard chores! Looking forward to the next book. Hope to read/listen to it soon!!!

  11. Diana,

    You must practice yoga and/or some form of meditation. If I think of doing all those things all at once my head might implode. How do you stay balanced? I would think the exercise would be an excellent form of meditation. I use my jogging as a time collect myself, get my thoughts in order. However, I’m not attempting all the projects nor the travels you have listed. What’s your secret to staying so disciplined and focused?


  12. It’s official. You’re Superwoman.

  13. Sitting here on the sofa and marvel at all that is going to order at a book should come from the author’s head to the buyer’s hand. I think I need to rethink about my decision to become a writer. Do not know how many times I re-read all the books, I just know that I was upset when I got to the end of book 7. My girlfriends who also read about Jamie and Claire agreed with me that it is not legal to end a book in that way. Now I am even more on needles waiting for the next book. Have a girlfriend who have not started reading the series yet, she wants all the books before she starts since she saw how the rest of us acts in waiting for the next one.

    Kudos for you and I´ll keep my fingers crossed that I have money when the next one arrives.

    Much love from Sweden

  14. Diana, et.al.

    Perhaps I missed the answer to this…Will there be an audio version of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER? Where/when will it become available? Will Audible have it?

    I’d also like to change my email address for this web-site…How do I do that?

    Thanks for your time.

    Loretta Remington

  15. I know he’s too old now, and probably too short, but i see Sean Bean as a rugged Jamie.
    we are all grateful for all your hard work, Diana. Thank you for both wonderful series – they are both a pleasure to read… And re-read.

  16. You are truly a multitasker! I thought I had enough with running a small company, wearing many hats, but thank goodness I have great people working for me.

  17. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I have enjoyed the books so much. They have made me laugh out loud and sob with tears down my face. Jamie and Claire are a part of my soul now. I don’t have enough words to tell you how much the books have meant to me. Please, please don’t end the books. Your writing is exquisite. Diana, PACE YOURSELF !!

  18. My Dear Diana,

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for all the things you do for your fans! That list is long and daunting, but we appreciate all your hard work, just so we can sit back and crawl into the wonderful world of Jamie and Claire. THANK YOU.

  19. I agree w/Chris Helmsworth, but ONLY because Gerard Butler has gotten older. We’ve been wanting him to play Jamie for years!

  20. Oh my gosh. I feel your pain. The writing, not the knee. :) Good luck with it. Hope it heals well. My hubby is 38 today and possibly looking at a hip replacement. BTW, can’t wait for book 8!


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