4,900 words today, across two hours, to 100,500 words on the manuscript. Right now I think this is going to come up considerably shorter than earlier estimates. Maybe 120,000 or so. I’m a bit surprised. Possibly Fred has learned to write to length, or possibly I’ll have to insert stuff on rewrite. That’s fine. Every book is different. But my last few have been dreadfully overlength, and I’ve kind of gotten used to very fat drafts.
“You presume.” Mother Iron’s voice was hard, but it carried no threat within the words.
“I only guess. But you have hung on, carried on the prayers of engineers and existing within the echoing places of this undercity. Carried on into the currents of time without ever recovering your proper place in the depths.”
“Vanity is for men.” Her objection carried its own weakness embedded in the tone and power of the words.
“Vanity is for all things that carry self behind their eyes. Gods are vain, men are vain, cats are vain. But this is not vanity.” I pitched my voice for her, ignoring the Factor’s increasingly sardonic smile. “This is opportunity.”