I’m twenty chapters or so into the edited manuscript, making changes and printing out a clean copy as I go. So far, there hasn’t been any mind-bending revision, just various chunks of story that needed clarification or simplification. Probably the biggest challenge is going to be redoing my time lines. I had planned on putting a timeline at the beginning of each chapter, in order to show what was going on all around the world at that particular time, but the timelines were long and detailed and complicated (here’s one):
Star points out that this will add a hundred pages to the book, not to mention that the text would probably have to be set sideways in order for it to fit, and that it annoys readers to be constantly turning the book around as they read. So I’m trying to work out a simpler timeline for the end of each chapter that would fit neatly on the page beneath the last paragraph.
The first half of the book has been reworked more often than the last half, so I’m expecting the revisions to get more complicated as I go on. I’m working on this every spare minute so that I can put it in the overnight mail on Saturday morning. I could beg for more time, but I had arranged some time ago to go to New York early next week to meet with my agent and with the publicity folks at Norton (I’ll report on the trip when I get back), and it would be embarrassing to show up without the revisions done.
It would be easier if I’d managed to clear my week of everything but revision. Unfortunately, I also have a deadline today to finish a book review that I’m already late on, and I have to meet with my dissertation director on Friday morning, so I’ll have to make time to get ready for that. Also the children are throwing up. Hurrah. If they were all old enough to throw up neatly into a receptacle, that would make life easier, but instead we’ve had a fair amount of running for the bathroom and spewing as we go (it would actually be better if they stood still and threw up in one neat puddle, even if the puddle did happen to be on the living room rug). Also, instead of climbing out of his loft bed and throwing up in the bathroom, my nine-year-old leaned over the edge of the loft and threw up into a pile of Legos on the carpet below.
Chaos, in short, is gradually overtaking us. Here’s how my office looks just now, with seven piles of working manuscript (two piles of my copy, the revised and unrevised; two piles of Star’s copy, the chapters I’ve gone through and the ones still to go; the pile of clean, printed-out manuscript; the stack of maps; the stack of illustrations):
And the corner that you CAN’T see from the door, which contains more shelves, more books, and the table where I work on my dissertation, looks like this:
To add insult to injury, there’s a dead mouse in my office wall, which means I’m lighting scented candles to be able to stay in the room at all. (What can I say? We live in a farmhouse. Mice are always going into their good night in some place which can be smelled but not found.) And it’s RAINING. And has been raining. And grey.