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It’s ba-a-ack, redux

Yesterday, without warning, a HUGE cardboard box arrived on the porch, courtesy of the FedEx man (who has not been warned about the existence of the omnivorous beagle). Yes, the copy-edited manuscript has arrived.
I am supposed to go through it, check all the red-pencilled changes to make sure that I agree with them, and answer all the copy editor’s queries.

This means that I now have spread on my desk the 800-page manuscript, a stack of endnotes, another of footnotes, the Works Cited, a stack of timelines, a stack of maps, a Table of Contents, a list of map captions, and a list of illustration captions. I’m supposed to make sure that all of these are in complete agreement. No small job, as you can see:

Here’s a typical page with the copy editor’s marks (quite a few of those are intended for the design team, not for me) and queries.

All of the yellow flags, I regret to say, are questions that I need to answer.

For example: Are these quote marks necessary? Elsewhere you say that this date is 567, but here you use 567–which is correct? You refer to “The Tale of Enkidu” and “The Coming of Enkidu”–which is the correct title? There is no page number for this reference–what should it be? The endnotes in the text skip from 7.2 to 7.4–should there be a 7.3, or should we renumber?

And multiply this times 800 pages.

I have until May 15 to get this back, which is very tight indeed. However, I am now installed in the Chicken Shed Office! So I have room to spread out, and when I need to look up a reference, I can simply get up and pick the book off a shelf (as opposed to digging it out from a stack on the floor). Here’s one of the back corners:

and one of the front corners:

and the view out my door.

This morning, after I supervised breakfast and chores, my mother asked if she could have the children to help plant tomatoes. So they all stormed off to the garden and I went down to tackle a few more copy-editor queries. I think they’re having more fun than I am. (They disagree, by the way.)