Yep, that's true. I sent the final polish off to the publisher this evening. Already I await anxiously for the planned release date, sometime in October.
Here are a few things I learned from my editor, Crystal Clear Proofing.
The biggest thing was that thoughts were italicized rather than set in single quotes. I really didn't know that.
The ellipse is three periods. My writing book specified they be spaced apart but what it didn't clarify was that there is a difference between the use of ellipse in non-fiction and fiction. In fiction the ellipse is three periods only. The only exception is if the phrase would have been an exclamation or a question. At those times an exclamation or question mark are added to the three periods. Now I did find one problem with this little punctuation. Word will nicely convert your three periods into a single punctuation, it also glues the words on either side into a single word as far as Word is concerned. That means that if you are unlucky enough to have two large words welded together by an ellipse near the end of a line, Word will happily place the whole thing on the next line, stretching whatever else was on the original line out to take up the space left behind. In this case, a space is needed after the ellipse. Keep in mind, the ellipse needs to be attached to the first word, not the second one. If this doesn't work, consider rewording your sentence.
Another little punctuation is the dash. A dash is the same as a hyphen only with spaces on either side. Once again, Word will make the conversion for you. It is however, very important that the conversion is made because they have very different meanings. When I first started writing, I didn't know that and my computer didn't convert the little bugger every time so I turned the conversion off. I really do prefer consistency even in such little things.
As I went through all the rest of the edits, these are some of the other things I discovered.
Swordbelt is in fact two words
Lord is not capitalized unless it is attached to a name. In such phrases as, "Yes, my lord." 'lord' is not capitalized.
The 'T' in T-shirt is capitalized - I suppose I should have looked it up, but in truth I didn't think of it.
I also confused 'farther' with 'further' - farther is a term indicating distance. Further is an abstract term --> "The king couldn't bring himself to punish his son any further for his crimes." is an example.
I also used 'aught' instead of 'ought' - though the two words are interchangeable, aught is an archaic version.
I was just a mite inconsistent with whether 'packsaddle' was one word or two - it is one word.
'Guild master' is two words.
Many of you have already read about my views on names. "Don't confuse your reader with names that are too similar." I had one character named Soran and another named Searron. It reminded me of JRR Tolkein's two main antagonists Sauron and Saruman. Confusing. Soran is my main character's first ancestor and haunts the book off an on throughout. Searron is my main character's grandfather and is only mentioned a few times, but it was still confusing, therefore I changed Searron's name to Lardeain, giving him some connection to the names of his two eldest sons, and allowing Soran to take center stage of the ghostly variety.
I also caught that Aunt Marinda had two names, something I fixed. Whew - that was a close one since the misname was Miranda.
In case you didn't guess, I took notes. I have two more books in this series to make sure of such little details.
Here is the first couple pages of my book - I hope you like a teaser.
Sixteen-year-old Sean stood in the queue, waiting his turn to compete with the saber. He looked up at the bleachers. He had no problem locating his dad; his parents sat in the same place every time. His dad was talking to their flat mate, Gordon. His mom couldn’t make it this time – she had to work. Every year since Sean’s first tournament, his parents gave him a choice. Since the tournament and his birthday were generally only a few days apart, Sean got to pick which event his parents would attend, since it was impossible for them to get both days off from work. Sean thought of a compromise. He really wanted them to watch him compete, so, as a birthday present of sorts, they could take him out for a special dinner afterward.
When Sean, Gordon, and his father returned home that evening, they were greeted by a squad car waiting in front of their apartment building.
“Sorry sir,” the officer said as he met them at their taxi. Sean’s father was a sergeant with the mounted police. The officer looked uncomfortable talking in front of Sean and Gordon.
“Go ahead, officer. We’re family,” said Elias.
“Sorry sir,” the man repeated. He hastily took off his hat and gripped it in his fists. “Sir, you need to come down to the station. It’s your wife, sir. She…she’s dead. You need…”
Sean didn’t hear anything else. The monotone voices of his father and the officer no longer translated into words. He found the hood of the police car and leaned on it, his sword case hitting the pavement with an audible thump.
Gordon wrapped an arms around his shoulders. “Come on, I’ll get you inside.”
When school started two weeks later, Sean didn’t go; he still wallowed in a fog, aimless and lost. Elias was no better, though perhaps more animated. He went from brooding in his chair for hours, to pacing the floor furiously. If he spoke, it was generally one version or another of the same thing. “Analeace was found dead at the door to the tower where she worked, and no cause could be found. They say it was as if she had simply stopped living. People here don’t simply stop living. They’re not looking hard enough.”
After Elias was allowed to go back to work, Gordon took Sean to school and then spent hours helping him catch up on what he’d missed. He was also there to keep him going – quite a difficult task at first.
Between relentless lessons with Gordon and those with the sword, Sean slowly started functioning again. When Master Mushovic decided to include the claymore in his sword lessons, he discovered it to have a very satisfying weight with which to work out his emotions.
For an entire year, Sean struggled at every turn. The vacancy left by his mother’s death haunted him. His grades slipped, but Gordon made sure they didn’t slip too far. He wanted to quit his lessons with the sword, but his father wouldn’t hear of it. It helped that every class left him feeling like he’d won something, though he couldn’t identify what.
On the anniversary of his mother’s death, Sean and his father visited her grave. They stood there, not speaking, with their hands in their pockets, wishing it wasn’t raining.
Ten days later, Sean found himself back at the cemetery, this time standing over his father’s grave. Killed in the line of duty was all he knew. The particulars of the incident had not been released, nor had the results of the investigation – Sean was still a minor and Gordon wasn’t family.
With the first anniversary of his mother’s death only a few days old, Sean felt so lost; he just wanted to stay in his room. He stopped going to school and even skipped his sword lessons. Not even the Sword Master’s heavy claymore could ease this pain. The fact that he suddenly didn’t have time was the only thing that kept him from falling apart completely.