Thursday, September 22, 2016

Deadlines…

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” –Douglas Adams

So– I have some egg on my face.
Back in August, I set myself a deadline for a September 21 release. (For those wondering, yes I do try to target the Equinoxes and Solstices. Not for any superstitious reason, but because it is scientifically fun.) I figured with 60 days, I’d have plenty of time to wrap things up.
Here I am on the 22nd. Earth is about to hit the autumnal quarter of its orbit in just a few minutes. And I have no book to release.
What happened?
I’m in rewrites. That’s the stage where the author begins to sit down and read the manuscript like a book—and discovers all the awful errors. The desperate changes to the writing to fix any continuity errors. Those blood curdling moments when I see this is the text:

[CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING NOW. COME UP WITH SOMETHING LATER.]

Yeah… I really wrote that. And it was sitting right in the middle of a chapter. (You bastard!)
Then there are notes littered around the manuscript where I wasn’t happy with one thing or another. Words that aren’t right, comments that don’t fit the characters, etc.
Have you ever sat down with friends and had a conversation that meanders from one subject to another? You are talking about one subject when someone brings up a point that leads to an entirely new subject, leaving the original conversation parked and abandoned by the side of the road. One moment you are talking about the distribution of matter in the universe, the next you are discussing what songs bet represent what year or season, and then how LED lightbulbs don’t attract bugs. Well, characters in books do this, too.
Conversations like this have to be rewritten and trimmed to keep them in step with the flow of the book. This creates a lot of fixing and adjusting that has to be done. Then I have to go back and read it again to make sure I didn’t introduce a new problem.
All this before I hand it to an editor! I’d be embarrassed to hand a truly raw, steaming pile of writing onto my editor.
Right now, the manuscript for Dragon stands at 140,000 words. That’s roughly equal to 385 pages in a 6x9 US Trade hardcover book with the font set at 11.5. By the time I’m done with it, I should have it trimmed to around 120,000 words. Once my editor has a go at it, we’ll have it paired down to roughly 110,000 words. For comparison, Nobody went from roughly 120,000 words to 105,000 words by the time it was published.
If I can finish everything before the new deadline, it will be released before the new deadline.
Either way, it is coming out this year! Come hell or high water! Or, attacks by horny dragons…