Monday, May 2, 2011

Done with fourth draft

I'm calling an end to the fourth draft and doing the "save as" and "create a new folder" and all that stuff to establish the fifth draft, which I'll start soon.

These are really arbitrary boundaries between one boundary and another. For example, during the "fourth draft" I went all the way through the manuscript twice. How is that not two different drafts? It has something to do without how much of a mental reset I'm doing. I guess a lot of the time, the stuff I'm doing on the second time through is stuff that I was aware needed to be done and that I postponed, so I consider it part of the same workload. I'm just not doing it in perfect sequential order. Like if a page needs for a paragraph to be added, a decision about whether to change a character's name, close fine editing of the sentences that are there and a read to see if there's a way that I can punch up the language, I might have the energy to focus on about half of that on one pass through and leave the other half for later. But since I was aware of all of it, I think of it as work on the same draft. Then, at a certain point, I either am aware of no problems any more or aware only of problems that I feel like I need some psychic distance from in order to tackle, then I feel like I'm moving from one draft to another.

That's where I am now. One major thing that has happened is that my wife read the entire typescript, front to back, for the first time over the weekend. (She had heard me read the first draft aloud as it was written and had looked at specific sections as I struggled with revision.) Discounting some for her bias, she has me convinced that I'm close to finished. The changes she outlined are not a lot of work, so my plan is for draft 5, whenever I get to it, to be a very short process and to look not terribly different from draft 4. (There were probably more differences between the two different passes of draft 4.) I have another reader lined up and I want to get it into their hands within a couple weeks if I can.

I'm also getting feedback this week from my writer's group, but that's only on a small section of it.

If I'm lucky, I'll get in three working days this week, but I don't know.

In any case, by not exactly the route I had planned, I'm getting to the destination in about the timeline I had hoped for last January -- to have it "done" by the end of this semester, which is in about 2 1/2 weeks. That's assuming I don't discover a crisis during work on the draft 5.

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