Here we go

By Holly Lisle

I’ve finished the write-in for The Ruby Key. I have no idea how many words I added. They’re all handwritten on ratty-edged notebook paper, with page numbering that goes 16-A, 16-B, 16-C, etc. I know I added a lot of scenes. More than a dozen. I know I added a lot of words. But how many? No clue.

So now it’s time for the type-in, and I have two days, as much of forty-eight hours as I can drag out of my body, in which to finish this thing. I’m sick–got sick yesterday. Sore throat, body and head aches, bit of a fever, congestion, general overall crud. You know the gig. Everyone gets it, and especially, everyone gets it right at the finale of the biggest deadline of their career. You shut up, you work through. (Well, if you have a weblog, you make sure to mention how crappy you feel so that everyone can duly comment on how brave and tenacious you are for soldiering on, but we’re going to pretend we don’t know about that whole blog-pity-party thing.)

Type-in is not simply correcting errors and typing in the new words as written. Not for novelists, who know this is the last true shot we’re ever going to have to get this puppy right, to make it sing, to rip your hearts out when you read it. The copyedit remains, but there you have damned little time, and not much elbow room. The copyedit is the place to be precise, not to get all happy and add tons of new material, introducing errors left and right. Little changes can go there. Anything big, well… this is it.

So. I have the WIP meter open, and I’ll type in my wordcounts as I go, and edit and add as necessary while I type, and we can all be surprised together by whatever the final number is. Whatever it is, it’ll be longer. Significantly longer. In the entire book, I deleted about three pages (600 words or so) of existing material. The meter starts at 0 (amount of type-in completed) over 60,000 (the length of the manuscript pre-edit).

Thank you for your encouragement, your enthusiasm, and for checking in to tell me you’re waiting to read this one.

Here we go.

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