Interstitial Moment:

Time for a small rant.

As part of publishing’s attempt to make-things-easier-or-at-least-faster, some misbeguided and misbegotten techie invented something called “track changes” a couple of years ago. The editor sends a manuscript as a attachment and on that online attachment are purple/green/blue sticky-like notes with queries or copyeditor changes on them. Dotted lines point to the place where said changes or queries come from.

In theory, possibly fine.

In practice, a bloody mess.

The print is tiny and if one tries to put it in a larger font, everything goes whacky. If more than one person is working on the mss. (ie a co-author, a copy editor, and the editor) things are incredibly hard to read.

I hate it. It makes me crazy. And I act like some elderly diva (well, maybe that’s an accurate description) who simply can’t move forward with the times. But I am of the if-it-ain’t broke school of writing. And I don’t want to be constantly at war with the machinery while I am trying to put final touches on a manuscript.

Last night I began one of two manuscripts that came to me that way. The easier one, I thought,  (a small book of poetry) I began at once. I left the novel for the next day. Along the way, the computer ate my changes and crashed five separate times. I finally had to save after each tiny change just in case. I managed to finish it up and send it out first thing this morning. And then I tackled the novel. Amazingly, there were so few copyedits, that things went pretty smoothly. Oh, not entirely. I only hated it slightly less than the poetry TC.

So, let me state in no uncertain terms in case you have missed the point of this rant. “Track Changes” slows things down on the writer’s end and makes the writer (or at least me) miss major things. In the end, it will be more costly because I will be making changes on the page proofs.

In essence, even though copyeditors and techies love this new toy, I think it is counter-intuitive for the creating artist.

Or at least it is for this one. I am opting out, thank you. Give me my manuscript pages back. I can track the changes that way, computers be damned.


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