I read through my third draft, picking up more stuff along the way. The stuff keeps getting more and more trivial, but it’s real. Why did I type “here” instead of “hear” in one place? Why did I add the “ue” to “Epilogue” but not to “Prolog”? Why did I refer to the city as “Roma” everywhere but in one place, where I used “Rome”? Why did I waver between “goodbye” and “good-bye”?
More important, reading straight through let me spot places where I repeated a point I’d already made and places where I failed to make a point I wanted to make. The text feels smoother now. Somehow I managed to add another thousand words. Well, I guess I needed them.
Most important, I made final decisions about a few niggling issues that were bothering me. In a large, multi-viewpoint novel, you wonder if you have too many viewpoints, or not enough. Does the story hang together as you shift and shift and shift between viewpoints? In a novel that carries the story forward from two previous novels, have you resolved enough of the questions, have you provided satisfactory resolutions for enough of the characters?
Well, you’re never certain, but I’m pretty sure I’m done with this novel, except for a final proofing. Which means I now leave the characters, and the world, behind.
I’ll miss them.
After leaving the novel to simmer for a while while I stared at busts of Roman emperors, I’ve finally started the third draft. So far, it’s going quickly–nothing like the second draft. I think that I’ve basically gotten it right.
We’re also making progress on cover designs.
So, maybe this fall?
Between the first draft of my novel and the second I went cold turkey and switched from two spaces after a sentence (which I’ve been doing for half a century or so) to one space. I did a global search-and-replace through my manuscript and changed all eleventy-billion occurrences of “period-space-space” to “period-space”. I typed all my new sentences with one space between them. I switched over to single spaces in my emails as well. And I will never look back.
Yes, I know, this was an amazing achievement. Appreciate the congrats. I did it mainly because those extra spaces were going away when the document was prepared for publication. Also, at work I work on a lot of documents with multiple authors, and it is moderately important to be consistent. Also, I just wanted to show myself what I was capable of.
Anyway, here’s a study that purports to show a slight benefit to two spaces after a period. This gets the authors a feature article in the Washington Post, but the study has lots of issues, as this wonderful article in Lifehacker points out. The key issue is that the study uses a monospace font. But nobody nowadays uses a monospace font, except for showing computer code or the like!
[R]eading a proportional font and a monospace font are two completely different scenarios. The study even acknowledges this: “It is possible that the effects of punctuation spacing seen in the current experiment may differ when presented in other font conditions.” Of course it’s possible—that’s what the whole debate is about! Why would you use Courier New!
So the study is pretty bogus, but I suppose the money from the two-space lobby will continue to roll in, and the researchers will go on speaking tours, write best-selling books, appear on major talk shows, etc. Good for them. But I will have the quiet satisfaction of having done the right thing by switching to one space, even at enormous personal cost. Not all heroes wear capes.
Appreciate the congrats, as our president would say.
It clocks in at 112K words, down about ten percent from the first draft. Yay! Lots of little stuff to take care of, but I think it’s about where it needs to be.
Its name, by the way, is Home.
In celebration, here is video of David Pastrnak’s hat trick against the Maple Leafs last night. That third goal is simply amazing.
Finally identifying a couple of chapters I could just cut entirely has certainly helped progress — it’s easier to increase a percentage by lowering the denominator!
I’ve done a lot more reorganization than usual in this rewrite; the plot just seemed to work better with a different sequence of chapters. I’ve also changed my point-of-view character a good bit, and that basically involves an entire rewrite of the scene.
Still hoping to be done with the draft by the end of April. Seems like a bit of a stretch, though.
Turns out we now have paperback versions of my very fine novels Dover Beach and The Distance Beacons. (An old, used paperback of Dover Beach is also available, but I don’t get any money when you buy one of those copies, so where’s the fun in that?) The covers look remarkably like the covers of the ebooks:
So now, along with Where All the Ladders Start, you can buy paperback versions of all three of the very fine novels in my Last P.I. series. Need I point out that a series of private eye novels set in a dystopian future after a major societal breakdown would make the perfect gift for that special someone on Valentine’s Day?
Also, I can get you these novels cheaper than you can get them from Amazon, so if you need a few, let me know.
I see that Jeff Carver has a nifty progress bar on his website. He’s up to 91% complete on the “major revisions” to his novel The Reefs of Time. Yay! I don’t know how to do that progress bar thing, but I am pleased to report that I’m about 52% complete on the second draft of my novel. (Of course, my book is about a third as long as Jeff’s, so the tasks aren’t really comparable.) I’ve also cut about 2% of the first draft, but I’m now starting to suspect that the second draft is going to end up slightly longer than the first. Where have I gone wrong?
I figure I’ll complete the second draft sometime in April, if I don’t have any more bright ideas. I’m in the middle of a bright idea right now, and it’s certainly slowing things down.