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[writing] Progris riport, day 17, revising Pinion

Between travel preparation, the Omaha Beach Party, and Hugo fever, yesterday was a lost day for Pinion. However, today I have finalized the draft at 162,800 words, 300 words over my most recent estimated turn-in length. This is not the draft for formal acceptance, this is the draft for editorial review, which will lead to a change letter around the end of April from , and that will drive my draft for formal acceptance.

Today I handled the last of the fix-it notes, did some careful spellchecking, went on several crutch word hunts, and generally got it nailed down. How ready is this book for prime time? I’ll have to ask — she’s the editor. I’m just the writer, I don’t know nothing…

Off to first readers now, as well as and .

[process] The gentle art of revision, OR, how to read your own book nine times

I am always learning from my writing. I’m now most of the way through the revision process on Pinion, f/k/a Tourbillon.

The rough draft, written last fall, was 199,400 words long.

On 3/4 I did a close read of it, editing as I went along. I finished that on 3/10. The main purpose of that draft was to get the book firmly inside my head. The manuscript stood at 198,800

3/12-3/13 I did a pass for deep, hard cuts at the scene and sub-scene level. With the book in my head, I could much more effectively judge where certain elements could be cut. This was pretty difficult, as Pinion has six point of view characters, with intertwined plot arcs. So cutting in one place often created structural, plot or continuity problems elsewhere. That got me down to 168,800.

3/14-3/18 I did a very deep line edit. This involved very slowly going through everything post-cut, as well as back to the prose in each phrase and sentence. This wasn’t as conceptually difficult as the previous hack-and-slash revision pass, but was much harder work, because of the intense attention to detail. That got me down to 160,700.

Tonight and tomorrow I’ll be working on the fix-it notes scattered through the manuscript from the previous three passes, as well as writing the two new scenes necessitated by the large-scale cuts — continuity bridges to account for deleted action which advanced the plot. My (quite reasonable) goal is to have it in to by tomorrow night. I expect to be somewhere around 162,500, with the newly inserted material.

By the beginning of May, I’ll get change notes back from , as well as my various first readers. That will generate two more revision passes. One to deal with the change notes themselves (however intensive that may be), and one for yet another very deep line edit to finalize the manuscript. The book will go back in for formal acceptance before the end of May.

After that, I’ll see it on copy edit (maybe fall, 2009), hardback galleys (maybe late fall, 2009) and mass market paperback galleys (maybe fall, 2010).

So, counting the rough draft, before this book is done I will have worked through it nine times.

And people wonder why I generally don’t read my own work in final published form…

[writing] Progris riport, day 15, revising Pinion

All the way through this very tight, close pass. Done. Down to 160,700 words.

Tomorrow and Friday I make yet another pass for the fix-it notes, mostly continuity errors or gaps. Probably come to a turn-in draft of about 162,500. It will go to and to my first readers, with a change letter and reader notes for a final revision pass in May.

I feel like I’ve been running marathons.

[writing] Progris riport, day 13, revising Pinion

5 chapters today. (Well, 4 and 2/3.) About 2/3 of the way through the manuscript on this pass, down below 164,000 words. There will be one more quick pass after this very low-level edit to fix a couple of continuity problems which are too high-level to deal with right now. I continue to be pleased with my progris.

[writing] Progris riport, day 12, revising Pinion

I apparently failed to post a Pinion progris riport yesterday, so this will have to do. In brief, three chapters yesterday and two and a third today. I planned to get a lot more done today, but the overly complex packing and trip prep I needed to do ate an alarming amount of time, and then there were some writing-related program activities which couldn’t be put off any longer.

However, tomorrow is another day. Still on target for all deadlines.

[writing] Progris riport, day 10, revising Pinion

Down to 168,800 today, plus lots of nitty stuff done. Not quite as tight as I’d hoped (165,000) but at least I broke below 170,000. Plus went on some booger patrols. Tomorrow I’m on to another pass for continuity fixes and deeper line edits, with a goal of 160,000 when I send it off to , and my readers.

[writing] Progris riport, day 9, revising Pinion

[eta: this has been sitting in draft since last night]

After a remarkably unproductive day yesterday, I am back on the horse. Almost four hours of keyboard time, focused on moderate to major cuts. Didn’t get all the way through the mss, but put a good chunk of it under the virtual red pencil.

Got it down from 198,900 to 171,700. I think I’ll end this pass around 165,000, with any luck. That’s still overlength, but not insanely so, to the degree that I can do a third pass for tightening, grabbing [bracket notes] and general fit, finish and corrosion, with an eye to trimming, and hope to hammer it below 160,000.

We shall see. I’m actually quite pleased with how well this is going.

[writing] The day that (mostly) wasn’t

Well, it’s a good thing I put the line edit pass of Pinion to bed yesterday. Today I had a priority request for a current bibliography, which sucked up a couple of hours, then got very homework-intensive with the reading and writing, then my acheing body (c.f. yesterday’s tetanus shot and personal trainer session) said “whoa, Sparky.”

I did manage to read ‘s daily on her current project. And just for variety, I did a bit more work on the Endurance outline, based on a recent conversation with about same. Unless I am seized with the burning passion of a thousand suns to push that to the next milestone tomorrow, I’ll be back on Pinion.

So it wasn’t cat waxing — good and productive reasons not to be good and productive today — but I can’t luff two days in a row.

[books] An important note about Pinion

Just a quick peek inside the sausage factory here, along with a huge “thank you.”

has a book entitled Pinion which is currently going through the contracting process, through our shared agent, . When , and I were hammering through possible production titles for Tourbillon, I came up with Pinion without realizing was already using it.

Titles aren’t copyrighted, and books with similar (or identitical) titles are endemic. But none of us wanted to step on . So we checked production schedules and other likely points of confusion, then asked if she minded that I use Pinion for the third Mainspring book.

Quite graciously, she agreed.

So here is a big shout-out and a thank you to , who is a Hero of the Revolution and will get some love in the book, besides.

[writing] Progris riport, day 6, revising Pinion

Six more chapters revised on Pinion, f/k/a Tourbillon. If I had a bit more energy, I might close to the end of the line read tonight, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Once I get this done, it’s back in for the heavy work. The big news today, of course, was the adoption of the publication title, Pinion.