Wow. I thought the “last pass” would be quick, catch a few things, and I’d hit the big “publish” button in the cloud. Yeah, sure, you betcha.
I’m up to page 131, and I’ve hacked out about 1500 words by tightening up phrasing, cutting redundancy, and making things clearer. I’m finding numerous corrections that need to be made, beyond simple typos obviously introduced during careless editing of larger errors. My writing has improved significantly between the start and the end of the first pass of major editing with a proper editor point out my thousands of mistakes. Much of my writing is clear enough, but not particularly smooth reading. It’s getting MUCH better. [Later edit: Looking at the very familiar corrections I made in the first 130 pages, I think that somehow a batch of early edits got discarded with a “version control” fail. I.e., as my editor and I mail back and forth, each updated version is saved with a new name and new edit start on that. At some point one of us grabbed an older version. I think. At least, that’s what it looks like, or else editing introduces a LOT of errors.]
Also found out the Latin I used, with Paul’s help, isn’t quite correct, either. New version via a prof at Seattle U is “Consero ut deleam” for Taj’s original motto, and “Liberos transfero qui liberas orbis faciant” for her new one. But we are still not 100% certain of that, either, and checking further.
As slow a reader as I am, it’ll not be done tomorrow, but I’m working pretty full time on it. Soon. Long before Healthcare.Gov is fast and secure.
Consero ut deleam
Kind of late in the day I realize, but Happy Thanksgiving! Please give thanks for all the really important things in your life – family, friends, the freedoms that are all to easy to take for granted. Think how great a life you have when a big event is shopping for luxuries on sale because we have so much necessary stuff already. All but the very poorest Americans (the bottom 0.01%) are well off by world and historical standards, and the opportunities are legion.
As to the story: as painful and frustrating as editing is, I am starting to appreciate how a book can get stuck in editing for years. My writing is improving from the constant critique, review, and refinement. Time gives a distance to provide needed perspective as well. We finally finished the “major editing” pass through the book. That took months. I’m now wading through a “final” pass that is catching far more mistakes than I thought possible (many of them introduced during the major editing), and resulting in many more text changes than I expected. The most interesting thing is that I’m catching a lot of mistakes that I had to have pointed out by my editor all the way through, but even then she didn’t catch them all (or at least was so busy pointing out all the other problems she passed them by). I use “a bit” and “suddenly” and “as if” and “a lot” and italics a lot. Repetition can be a powerful tool, but done on accident it’s a killer for readability.
Cover art is just about done. Minor tweaks, nothing more. Working on a logo that I think people will like for a near-the-end scene, and will become the “calling card” for later stuff if it does well and becomes a series. Logo will be suitable for tee shirts and things. Paul helped with the Latin on it, but a Prof at Seattle U helped get it “more correct.” I think people will like it. Hmmm… Guess that means I need to get set up at Cafe Press some time soon.
So the good news is that I’m a lot closer to being finished, but the bad news is that I’m realizing that trying to put a fixed date on finishing an iterative and constantly improving process isn’t a good idea. Not getting it out in November. Christmas? Hope so. but we’ll see.