Words you just never want to hear
What happens when you rush and change your modus operandi.
Email from editor:
Tom, Here it is. I think is needs a reasonably heavy edit, I’m afraid.
That is editor-speak for “this chapter stinks, fix it”. And then when the second comment in the chapter by the reviewer is:
I would rank this chapter as the weakest link for the first volume
Ouch. Well, one of the chapters by definition must be the weakest link. But they were right. What I did in this chapter was different from the rest. It was slightly opinionated, and lacking in examples. A recurring comment was
Here is where I think the chapter is missing a classic TK test run…
what I'm thinking about here is the classic TK introductory example that shows how to…
It was missing those, they were 100% dead on. And in re-reading it myself, I could see it didn’t fit (the chapter didn’t). But boy, did it make for a long day. The chapter increased in volume by 50% but is now very much reorganized, reordered and full of examples that build on each other. I’ll not say what chapter it is (maybe we can have a contest after the book comes out to see if you can spot it from the others – I would hope not now).
It is amazing how much better it is after putting in the meat. For whatever reason, I was just saying things (I knew them to be true, I knew what I meant), but it wasn’t coming across, it wasn’t compelling. My favorite comment
I would so like some proof here.
I could have looked at the number of comments (over 100) versus the number of pages (about 23) and realize that ratio was bad compared to the other chapters (higher than average comment to page ratio) and “punted” – that is cosmetically fix the chapter, address the comments but not really “fix it”. In fact, after reading the comments part way through, I closed the document and did some other stuff for a while. Then came back and finished reading them. That was comment #58 and that was the comment that got me to say “ah hah”.
Funny how one thing like that can set the tone. I would so like some proof here. That is all it took. I said something in the text (it was true), but it sounded not plausible perhaps. Prove it. Show me. Convince me. That was all it took.
Well, that and quite a few hours. The chapter is longer, but it is very different. Out with the old and in with the new – parts of the chapter were gutted, removed. Lots of new stuff put in. Now it is back in the review cycle for another tech edit and copy edit.
Word from the editor this morning on it:
Tom, It looks really good.
But you know, those British people are just so emotional and all – from him that is really high praise :)
7 days and counting. Then Volume I goes off to be turned into paper – just in time for Oracle Open World in September.