Saturday, August 3, 2013

still drafty in here

After I turned in my big Tolkien article, in a slightly incomplete and very rough state, on Wednesday, my editor (6K miles away, by e-mail) gave a big sigh of relief - this was a short-deadline fill-in job - but said that he wouldn't be able to look at it until Sunday, which would give me a chance to tinker with it. That's OK - the purpose of a deadline in academic publishing is to give plenty of time to edit - but the last thing I wanted to do was to look at it again right then.

It turned out that that didn't last. A couple hours ago I finished filling in the last gap in the text, on top of which I've been doing polishing of various other sections. I've also put in subheadings - tough for me, as my prose tends to flow without demarcation lines - compiled the citation references (63 items, not bad for the bibliography of a piece written in a month), written a bio to the ridiculously short limit of 50 words, and moved several parenthetical remarks to footnotes.

The publisher guidelines had deprecated footnotes, but the editor had sent me the already-submitted articles bordering mine, and they used footnotes, so I'm going to also. Actually, apart from giving them a brief glance so I could see where the borderlines went - I'm not sure if I can say yet what my specific topic is, but it's a historical one divided into three periods, and I have the middle one - I hadn't looked at them since they arrived. I didn't want to be distracted. Now I've looked at them again, and the thing that had most disturbed me about my own piece - that it seemed to me too quick and selective a survey of what should be a large topic - I don't think I have anything to worry about. The borderline articles, one of them by a highly regarded name in the field, are more quick and selective than mine. They had to be: we have our word-count limit, and I exceeded it more than they did.

So I've gotten past the "ugh, this is terrible" post-partum depression stage of writing and am now feeling better about it. Now I'll print it out and carry a copy around and muse on corrections until Sunday morning when I'll turn it in again. Good timing, as I'm about to plunge into a maelstrom of reviewing gigs - 5 of them in 9 days.

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