Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Progress Report.

Aside

It still feels presumptuous to talk about ‘the book I am writing’ but what the hell! I now am up to date, in that all the episodes of ‘Past Imperfect’ are on one document and I have done some preliminary editing – for example - deleting headings which are episodic (what a nice word that is) instead of chapter headings. I have done some revision and find – to my delight - I rather enjoy it. I am fumbling with chapters - where, how long, how many? My total word count so far is 97,000 but how many pages is that? I know - if I count the words on a page of the autobiography I have just finished reading and multiply by the number of pages… but then there are lots of half pages which affect the calculation. Bother!

It was a comfort to read in The DT’s Review that when , after writing two successful books about the death of her husband and then her daughter, Joan Didion on being asked to write a play said, ‘I did not want to write a play. I had never wanted to write a play. I did not know how to write play.’

On meeting David Hare, who was to direct it she asked him how ‘long’ a play should be. ‘He did a word count on his own Via Dolorosa: 15,000 give or take.’

The point being that even someone as gifted as she is, feels uncertain when tackling something new.

Vanessa Redgrave is to play the lead and I’m sure – as she did in ‘Atonement’ – will shine like the candescent star she can be. ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ opens at the National on April 25th.

Back to the book, it’s clear I have a lot of work to do with regard to continuation and cohesion, to say nothing of coherence, conciseness and clarity. I need to read the manuscript from beginning to where I’m up to. I’m not done yet, so possibly there will have to be massive cuts. That’s much less daunting than having to pad it out. Onward and upward! I have a theory that post natal depression sets in after publication – I can comfort myself with that if nought comes of it. Meanwhile agents and publishers please form an orderly queue.

34 comments:

rashbre said...

I did a swap recently with someone related to writing. I read theirs and they read mine.

I think it helped us both and was a good step. I know it gave me a lot of ideas and I suspect likewise. Maybe you know someone 'detached' who could give you similar feedback?

PI said...

Rashbre: I have a number whose opinion I would value but I'm not at that stage yet. I hope soon to get it on a CD and try to get my printer working again. I'm wondering about laser printers and does one still send manuscripts?

savannah said...

good idea rashbre had, when you're ready, have someone else read it. the one thing i do know about publishing, get an agent to handle your book. at least, that's the case with stateside publishers. xoxo good luck!

(i love your garden photos, sugar! such an inspiration, but alas, i have the death hand when it comes to the garden)

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

"... continuation and cohesion, to say nothing of coherence, conciseness and clarity". Nothing wrong with your alliteration! When it's done, will it be "The book wot I wrote" ?

R. Sherman said...

In college, we used to figure around 300 - 325 words per page -- that was on a typewriter, of course. My estimation is you've passed the 300 page work. Going to give Tolstoy a run for his money, eh?

kenju said...

Do let us know when the book is ready, Pat.

I'd think padding it out would be easier than cutting, at least for me....LOL

PI said...

Savannah:thank you. Interesting that you should say that about having an agent. I always had one as a model -and I always thought it was short sighted of one of my writer friends not to have one.

Randall: just checked and a recent book published 'Petite Anglaise' written by a blogger, is 340 pages. Mind you that's just written over a year in her life. and she's only in her thirties. Good book!

john.g. said...

Hell! P.I Rowling!

PI said...

Daphne: you don't know how close I was to writing 'wot I wrote' but I thought few would get the inference. Good old Ernie!

PI said...

Johng: don't worry - no chance!

Judy: I will I will but it may be some little time:)

Guyana-Gyal said...

For me, the re-writing is the best, most fun part, it's not just filling in, it's playing with words, adding more 'juice', colour, texture.

The 2 Steves www.the2steves.net said even if you have to rewrite 9 times, do it if it's going to make your book better.

Have fun, Pat.

Nea said...

Think my comment was gobbled up so I'll try again. I said:
Well done Pat!
Have you got a title yet? I just googled "Past Imperfect" to see if there were other books of that name, there are, but your blog came up as number 2.

Sleepypete said...

Hello - Michele sent me :-)

I just counted up an estimate for a random page in Heinlein's Sixth Column, I'm reckoning about 300 words on a page ... But that would vary for how much ends of paragraphs and speech break up the Wall Of Text. 300 per page seems like a reasonable estimate.

It's handy having those little breaks in, Wall Of Text tends to lose the reader.

Must get a move on with my own project ... I have the central characters lined up plus a very good idea for what would be Act 1. Act 2 should be fairly "training-ish" but I've not thought too much about Act 3, which would have to be a closing type sequence.

Good luck with your book project :-)

PI said...

GG: I guess, like me, you get lots of practise with your posts. I try to dosome every day but the last couple of days haven't.

Nea: I was horrified when - some months back - I discovered how many Past Imperfects there were. I think even Joan Collins used it as a title for one of her books. Fortunately there is no copyright on titles, but I shall probably change it or adapt it eventually

Sleepy pete: thank you for that and good luck with your play.

Shephard said...

We saw the David Hare play "Stuff Happens" and found it not only well-written, but riveting.

Best wishes on your book!
Michele says hello
(her site doesn't appear to be posting all the comments)
~S

PI said...

Shephard: David Hare is a gifted writer and knows his politics. Thank you for your wishes. Michele's comment box wasn't working and then embarassingly printed all my comments. I never understand why some people don't bother to follow Michele's rules. My theory is if you have time to comment you have time to visit.

sablonneuse said...

How exciting. I'm really looking forward to buying the book (though I know it won't be out yet awhile). In the meantime enjoy tweaking.

Kim Ayres said...

Well one thing you'll be able to tell any agent or publisher is that you're guaranteed about 50 blog reviews once the book's released :)

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

I can't wait to get my copy. My only regret is that my granny didn't live long enough to read it. She would have loved your writing and your story, Pat, I know it. As it is, there are a number of people I will definitely be gifting it to.

Best luck with the trimming and chopping!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You have a nice way with words, so it wouldn't surprise me to see a queue.

PI said...

sablonneuse: I'd better bash on. It's always a temptation to talk about it instead of getting on with it. with it.

Kim: going by my knowledge of agents they will be more interested in sales.

Sam: Now I've gotta finish it.

PI said...

Hoss: that's one of the nicest things anyone has said to me. Are you feeling OK?

Guyana-Gyal said...

You're right Pat, writing this blog has taught me quite a bit!

PI said...

GG: and it has also garnered you some well deserved, devoted readers.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Someone may have already said this Pat...Vanessa R. played Jpan Didsions play on Broadway last season, and it was quote wonderfully recieved.....I hope you go see it at The National. I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. This is an evening I would have LOVED to see. I am a BIG Joan Didion fan.

About your book: I am so impressed with all that you have done and will continue to do! I congratulate you. I know how difficult it is to organize and edit....! And to "cut" when needed. But they say 'less is more'....And I guess that is true. Well....sometimes! (lol)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

This sounds great, Pat. You're right about the post-publication depression. Paperback books run from around 80,000 to around 150,000 words (the really fat ones); Mills & Boon come in at around 55,000. So that should give you some idea. I would also recommend reading it out loud at a later stage, it's amazing how that helps you to pick up typos and clunky sentences that you don't notice when you're just reading by eye. Carry on, that woman!

Shane said...

A Z-shaped friend of our's is a great source of intelligence on such matters, but I would also add that I can well imagine specialist interest in your work. Though I'm unsure of how such things sit in the ear of originally blog-based writers, I wouldn't discount tiny tiny tiny publishing house options, nor even some strategically-sorted self-publishing. Keep doing what you're doing. There is much value in this endeavour (lovely word, just like episodic).

PI said...

Naomi: I know very little about Joan Didion and must try to read her books at least. I'd give a lot to see the play but it would mean a night away and I don 't feel like leaving MTL at present.

Zinnia: thanks for that. i know you are right about the reading aloud. Usually I read it to MTL - poor love - and often correct as I go along.

Shane : this I realisa and am grateful for it. As for tiny publishing houses and the kind of self- publishing you mention - they are both optiions I would not discount.

David said...

I am happily cheering you onward.

Thanks for the visit

PI said...

Thank you David! I'm grateful:)

Thaleia said...

It's never easy to write a book, but you seem to really have the hang of it. Good luck with it!

Thaleia

ps: visiting from Michele's

PI said...

Thaleia: thank you! I hope you are right:)

amy said...

i'm very excited about the book! and it looks like you can tell any prospective publisher that they'll not only get lots of free publicity via reviews from other bloggers, but a truckload of pre-orders as well! (put me down for a couple of copies, i'll need one for my mum, too!) although if the publishers have any sense you won't have to tell them as they'll be able to see that for themselves, and the book deal'll come to you... fingers crossed, eh?

PI said...

Hi Amy: I've got everything crossed. I'm very grateful for all the lovely support I get - even if maybe some glasses are rose tinted:) And why not?