Absolutely the Final Draft(s)

Because what I do for a living often seems like magic—I come up with an idea and *SHAZAAM* the book’s in your hand—I’m writing a series of spoiler-free blog posts about the actual process. (Though rest assured—it’s still pretty magical.)


“So, how many drafts do you write?” the question goes. Well, it depends on what you mean by a draft. I’ve talked about the process of major revisions in Feeling the Draft(s), and about the process of copyediting and the experience of having an authenticity reader in Post-Final Drafts, then about the proof stage and how I always read aloud to catch errors and clangers in Proof Positive , but did you think that would be an end of it?


There’s a thing the publisher calls the “First Pass Author Queries” that comes along after my theoretically absolutely final list of changes gets incorporated into their master document, and the cold readers (cold in the sense of not having seen it before, not cold in the sense of aloof and disapproving) notice some oddities, such as using the feminine inquiète when talking about a man, or the unintentional repetition of words such as “matter” and “exuberance” that I hadn’t caught, or my inadvertent use of “Île de Paris” when I meant “Île de la Cité.”

And then there’s the sharp eyes of early reviewers, people who snagged an e-ARC on Net Galley, and people who won an ARC giveaway, who write in to say that I’d used the wrong term, or got the geography wrong, or slipped a typo into a sentence—most of which will already have been corrected in the stages that followed the one in their hands, but all of which have to be checked and passed on to my editor, on the off chance nobody caught that one, and hoping that the absolutely definitive, carved in stone, really quite final version of the book hasn’t gone off to the typesetters.

Of course, then we start waiting for people who buy the finished hardback to send me a sweet note saying I’d referred to some major character by the wrong name, or set a scene in Germany instead of France, or told me that some situation wouldn’t have been possible in 1925, or…

You can pre-order The Lantern’s Dance from: Bookshop Santa Cruz (signed); Poisoned Pen Books (signed); Bookshop.org (supporting Indie booksellers); Barnes & Noble; or Amazon.

(Plus, register here to get the US pre-order bonus!)


  1. Judith B Meyer on December 4, 2023 at 11:14 am

    I promise that , after I have read my book next year, I will not ever write you to point out errors.
    BTW Can’t wait!

    • Laurie King on December 4, 2023 at 11:33 am

      Oh, you’re welcome to do so–I’m happy to send post-publication corrections for the paperback and ebook editions.
      Laurie King

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