This giant stack of paper is the copyedited manuscript for Afterparty.
Exactly two hours and forty-eight minutes ago, my wonderful editor, Patrick Price, phoned and we put the finishing touches on the second half of the book. (We did the first half yesterday.) This is the version of Afterparty that will go into the galleys, which means that some time next month, underneath that gorgeous cover, there will be a book, and people other than my husband will be reading it.
And although I can certainly do some nips and tucks between those galleys and the final book that comes out in January, in a very real sense, this is it.
I can no longer give Emma an obsessive interest in tap dance, a pet chinchilla, or a boy pal she suddenly realizes is the man of her dreams in the last chapter. I might be able to move a couple of commas around, but I can’t bring Emma’s mom back from the dead or lose Siobhan’s mom’s history as a serial quasi-monogamist and the best Miss February ever.
We’re done. My sudden impulse to smooth out Emma’s snark and soften her wisecracks (so, Patrick figured out, everyone else would love her as much as I do) – forget it.
My desire to give all the characters I love a more completely happy ending, to move Dylan and his parents a tiny step in the direction of reconciliation, to turn Kimmy into Emma’s new best friend, to send the evil Chelsea and her minions on a forced semester in the Gobi desert – the camel has left the building. There will be no desert excursions, no major revisions, no plot reevaluations of epic proportion.
This book will never be better, or worse, or different than it is at this moment.
Excuse me while I breath into a paper bag.