April 21, 2011

Don't Be A Man

Today, I received pre-edits from one of my editors. I didn't even know what pre-edits were, and truth be told, it freaked me out. Yes, I could have emailed my editor with the things I didn't understand, but I wanted to figure them out myself. (Okay, I admit it; I didn't want to look stupid.)

Double space manuscript--already done.

Italics for interior thought--Like this

Black text only --Why would anyone use another color?

I checked those off right away. (Made me think I was actually doing something other than avoiding the needed changes.)

I knew I was in trouble when I came upon these:

No singular character ellipses-- Uhh

No spaces between periods in ellipses--"That makes no sense--without spaces they would be a solid line. Right? " (I actually said this out loud, causing my teenage daughter to look at me weird--well, weirder than usual.)

I slammed on the brakes and started designing a website. Though I never created one, it seemed easier than pre-edits. Then, I remembered my deadline. So, I decided to skip the ellipses issue and move on.

Good or preferred vs. Common usage: refer to CMOS section 5.202

My heart began to ellipse … (do those ellipses have spaces? I'll never look at them the same.)

After regaining sanity, I decided to Google CMOS.

Chicago Manual of Style. Oh. I knew that. I panicked for no apparent reason. (The M in J.M. Powers now stands for melodramatic.)

Feeling a bit sheepish, I emailed my editor. She graciously explained everything I didn't understand. My sigh of relief was probably audible over cyber space, because she shot me another email while I scanned the list of things to do. She said to break each task down, and resist the urge to look at the next thing on the list. Oh. Following her lead, I finished everything in one night.

There are many turns in the road to publication. Today, I learned something new. If I quit acting like a man and ask for directions, it will make this trip a whole lot easier. Oops, I think I just bumped into an ellipse. (Oh, and they do have spaces--just don't put extra ones in there.)

Author note: For those men who do ask--sorry

JM Powers

Previously posted as guest blog on


  1. *snicker* i'd call you a wuss, but J's pre-edits are no picnic. You'll get used to it. Besides, when you get the book out and it's as perfect as any book can be, you'll breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.


  2. Hee Hee
    I like how you find humor in the scary, yucky or tedious parts of a writer's life. :)

    A fun and informational read. :)

  3. LOL

    I especially liked your last line...

    For those men who do ask--sorry

    Do they really exist? I believe it when I see it. lol

  4. Nic, they do not exist. I even had a man respond to this on marlamiller.com--and he admitted it! :)

  5. Oh Teeka! :) I loved your comment. *grin* Made me laugh so loud my hubby came downstairs to see what was so funny.