For a 264-page book, during the copy editing and proofing of Wander my editor and I went back and forth multiple times on about 250 words.
At question? The first couple of pages of the very first scene. I had edited it a fair bit, and he had also been working his editorial magic.
Now, though, we had realized something else. The text in question wasn’t just how the title character of Wander was being introduced. The text, said my editor, had to be just right—because it was the key to the entire book.
So we went back and forth. After, I believe, at least six iterations, we arrived at what we both considered just right. That passage is below.
Wander sat at the hostel’s computer. In the monitor’s reflection, dim and faint, as if staring out from another world, was a face that could be any face—male or female, young or old—with any shape, any skin shade, any hairstyle, anything whatsoever. The face of any traveler who has ever hit the road from any place that marked their first step. Wander had an anyoneness, an anywhereness that made Wander everyone in particular. An identity of all possibilities, as if the universe had split into infinite multiverses and anyone could set off on Wander’s journey.
Logging on, Wander wondered how many other people in the world had access to the internet but didn’t have a Facespace account. Or a Twitlinkpinstatoob+. Opening the daypack, Wander took out a small flip phone. A traveler on a nearby couch looked up from her bright-screened, too-big-for-the-hand Apsamgoo iGalixel and smirked. “Trust me.” Wander’s not-too-high, not-too-low voice competed with the beeps and boops coming from the traveler’s phone. “Last thing I need is a data plan or unlimited messaging.” The traveler shrugged. Instead of looking back at her phone, she stared at Wander. A wavy, wobbly silence passed between the two travelers. Wander could see the question forming in the traveler’s eyes. Are you a girl or a guy? A man or a woman? Wander grinned and leaned forward, smoldering eyes narrow. “You’ll never know.” The traveler’s gaze darted back down to her phone. Wander chuckled and returned to the computer.
Available worldwide Oct. 19, 2018
Patrons can get Wander Oct. 5
Signed & numbered paperbacks