IntoProduction

Just heard this morning (November 11, 2013) that the corrected copyedit has been sent to typesetting.

I’m still finding typos and such missed in correcting the copyedit, as I’m going over the ms., intensively reading so I can prepare the first stage of an index. So I will undoubtedly find many more, but they will have to be saved for correcting galleys.

I didn’t have a chance to post here about receiving the copyedit — it was quite sudden (I do not understand why, since this biography has been 13 years so far in production, and they’ve had the complete ms. since 2006, the publishers still feel they have to conduct the production process by ambush), and I had to work at it very concentratedly. And then when the copyedit itself was corrected I prepared and finalized Appendix 3 (a list of RAH works — not entirely satisfactory to my mind as there are too many compromises that had to be made) and then went immediately into index mode.

The copyedit went much more smoothly than the copyedit for the first volume (which was atrocious, the copyeditor, not apparently speaking English as either a first or a second language, introduced several thousand new errors into the ms.)

This time the biggest problem was a conflict of stylesheets. Tor/Macmillan uses the Chicago Manual of Style, which is a fine stylebook but designed for newspapers and not for a text that is full of citations and quotations. I was trained with the MLA stylesheet, which is widely used by lit academics — though the last encounter I had with it was before it had quite caught up with online sourcing, so at Santa Cruz they supplemented the MLA with two or three other stylesheets.

The relevant fact for this project about the MLA/CMOS variation is that CMOS apparently only recognizes one form of ellipsis, the three-dot. MLA uses a four-dot ellipsis as well. The three-dot ellipsis designates an elision within a paragraph; the four-dot ellipsis designates an elision that spans over a paragraph break. In addition, I use a legal convention when parts of a quotation are widely separated: three asterisks centered on an otherwise blank line.

Going into the copyedit, my principle was to live with anything that could be lived with. I had a discussion earlier with the editor in which I told him that I had used the greater precision of the MLA stylesheet because I wanted to give the readers trying to follow the citations enough information to tell how the pieces fit together (particularly now that the correspondence volumes of the Virginia Edition are out) — but that ultimately it was a publisher’s call about how much of that information they wanted to preserve.

I would have gone along with the changed style if it had been done in a sane fashion, but the copyeditor tried to change all the four-dot ellipses into three-dot ellipses with a preceding sentence-ending period, which does not work at all. When I found the copyeditor screwing around with ellipsis within quotes — and particularly putting in stray periods where she imagined periods might have been in source texts she has never seen — well, that cannot be lived with.

And that brought up a rather baroque set of rules about when to spell out a number and when not to. Since I had to go over the entire ms. again, I left some that I thought could work, but wound up changing some where I thought they would throw the reader into a slam-stop. The single biggest factor in the writing was to carry the reader along through the multi-million fact maze, and I tried to preserve that.

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Progress … of a sort

I had hoped to have some definite word one way or another, but have not had any communication directly from David Hartwell since May. From friends who keep track of such things, I find that Tor has listed it for publication in June 2014. From a mutual friend I find that Hartwell will probably not do anything further at all on the book until after WorldCon — which would leave only about nine months for legal review, copyedit, galley proofs, and picture selection — plus of course printing and pre-publication publicity (ha!)

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Acceptance

On Friday I received word from my agent, Eleanor Wood, that David Hartwell has formally accepted the re-recut manuscript for volume 2 of the Heinlein Biography. My title for volume 2 is “The Man Who Learned Better.” No idea whether this will survive Macmillan’s sales department.

Now begins the publication process — legal review, copyedit, picture selection, galley proofs.

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Progress!

I didn’t want to take time out earlier to blog the progress but David Hartwell’s edits on the December 3, 2012, submission came back a few weeks ago, all relatively easily made, just time consuming because it is, after all, more than a thousand pages. I’ve spend about the last week trying to clean up the format — in some cases unsuccessfully, as no matter what I did, what “help” articles I read, nothing would get it to renumber the footnotes properly. Their installation in New York may be able to force it, but I wasn’t able to.

This last bit was a run through the final-corrected manuscript with the principal aim of getting in at least a sentence of description for each story that is mentioned, at least enough to identify it. Along the way I picked up some “shave and a haircut” typos and such. The last act, yesterday May 2, 2013, was to convert the footnotes to endnotes (a format I hate as apparently do all the readers who commented on it at all). The numbering aberrations are still there, though, so I anticipate problems with the copyedit.

So the news is, what I fondly hope is the final edit was turned in yesterday. Now, once David approves the ms. as “acceptable,” comes legal review, copyediting, picture selection, galley proofs. Some time in 2014 — nine years after I finished it the first time — we should have volume 2.

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Heart back from the editor

On January 15, I sent a few typos and corrections to David Hartwell at Tor, and heard back that he had found a few more and I would see them all in the copyedit.

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Another Milestone 12/3/12

Monday December 3, 2012 — The basic text of Volume 2 has been set and turned in to editor David Hartwell at Tor.

In the spring of this year, midway into David’s first set of edits for this volume, he brought up the possibility of splitting this volume into two books, giving a three volume biography in all. There was some back and forth; ultimately David decided not to go forward with a third volume, and since he gave me the word late in August, I’ve been working ever since to cut the manuscript back to the same size as volume 1. Possiby with the idea of a third volume in mind, David had asked for an expansion of the text that utimately accounted for about 400 pages of new manuscript. The expansion itself was not particularly demanding, as I had cut much more than that out of the manuscript in 2005 and 2006 — but it was neither possible nor desirable simpy to restore the old version; the expansion incorporated all of Hartwell’s edit.

Cutting a 1400+ page manuscript back to about 1000 pages is a time-consuming and finicky process involving several passes through the entire thing. I had the help of Robert James for the first sixth of the book, but still it took the full two months.

I was actually ready to turn in the text last week (November 26) but since we have format conversion probems between my computer here and David’s in New York, I checked the format carefully and discovered to my horror that Word had not eliminated some of the footnotes that accompanied deleted text, which forced me to go over the entire thousand-plus pages again, line by line, checking for such things — another finicky and time-consuming process that took the entirety of the last week and drove everything else out of mind –

– until this morning when I was able to e-mail a PDF of the manuscript (showing the format as it ought to be), plus two different Word to Word conversions (Word 2000 on XP; Word 2010 on XP, with a Word 2010 on Windows 7 in reserve). ONE of those ought to be openable in New York — cross fingers.

Copies of the PDF also went off to a panel of three “first readers” whom I have asked to tell me things I can no longer tell on my own — how does it read? Are there spots that have too much detail, too little? Are there places where it’s too choppy — that sort of thing. Once you have been through the book over and over again, over a period of seven years, your ear becomes deadened to these very important qualities of the prose.

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Another correction

All the good stuff comes out after you publish — well, not all the good stuff; there was a lot of good stuff in the Archive, but –

I had some e-mail correspondence recently from Wendy McClure, who is researching the life of her great-aunt Vida Jameson. I shared all the mentions of Vida Jameson mentioned in my notes, and in turn she sent me some remarkable bits and pieces, including the letter Vida Jameson wrote to her mother about a road trip with the Heinleins in 1946, plus a photograph of the Heinleins in about 1940 that I’d never seen before and might be one of those taken by John Campbell . . . or might have been by Bill Corson, as it has something of the look of the famous two or three pictures Corson took in the new writing studio he and Heinlein had just built together over the garage of the Lookout Mountain house. Also a photo of Vida Jameson herself, quite a beauty, and a picture of an oil portrait of her by none other than her friend Hannes Bok. She graciously gave permission to post these or use them, so I will see whether we can get any of them up on site.

The letter to Vida’s mother shed some real light on the timing of some events in mid-1946. In Learning Curve I said that Vida took up residence at Lookout Mountain in August 1946, and it appears more likely that she was in residence at Lookout Mountain in July 1946.

After leaving the V-2 launch they witnessed at the end of June 1946 in White Sands, Robert and Leslyn apparently drove up 25 through Albuquerque to Santa Fe, where they picked up Vida Jameson on July 3, 1946, fresh from New York. (Still no indication why VJ would have chosen to come back to Santa Fe NM rather than go directly to Los Angeles). They were in Santa Fe at La Fonda hotel for the 4th of July — the one Heinlein talks about reading the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and went back along Route 66 (now 40) through Gallup, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, Boulder Dam, Las Vegas, and on into Los Angeles, where Vida started work immediately on the writing, as she says that Cleve Cartmill (whom she would later marry) and Roby Wentz criticized her story for her the day after she got in.

So she arrived with Heinleins either on or close to Heinlein’s 39th birthday on July 7.By that time Ginny was enrolled in graduate school at UCLA, dating Cleve Cartmill, and working as a live-in helper-maid-assistant with a couple she came to dislike. She started giving Robert and Leslyn skating lessons in August 1946. Vida lived with Leslyn and Robert until February 1947. Not unsurprisingly, once Vida left, the Heinleins’ marriaqge took a precipitous decline, and they were separated by mid-June 1947.

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Red Letter Day

Thursday July 19, 2012: Finished the last of the second-pass edits. No edits have yet been received on the appendices — which includes a chapter on the events of the world of Heinleiniana in the years following his death and a chapter of some startling contemporaneous recollections of the summer of 1947 when Heinlein’s marriage to Leslyn broke up. Mrs. Grace Dugan Sang (now Wurtz) provided a great deal of information and help for this biography after reading the first volume. There will be, in addition, a complete bibliography in the form of the Guide to the Virginia Edition, by special permission of the Prize Trust and the Virginia Edition LLC. That seemed the most compact way of getting all the core information in print and generally available.

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Go Toward the Light –

July 18, 2012. Big day: today I start the second-pass revisions on the chapter. Still a great deal of work to do, but this phase of the work is about to be concluded.

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Nearing the end . . .

Over the weekend of July 13-15 I finished making the second-pass corrections to chapters 29-32 of 34. Chapters 31 and 32 were the trips to the Antarctic and the Northwest Passage trip of 1983. Both had become quite short, so I collapsed the two chapters together.

It is just a matter of weeks now before the second pass edits will be done and I can turn in the stable manuscript.

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