Friday, April 20, 2012

Pictures from an institution

I finished the initial big edit this morning.  It will sound overly intricate if I try and explain my method in words - to me it seemed the simplest way of handling a complex revision situation!  But: I went through the manuscript from start to finish, doing quite a bit of copy-editing and some story streamlining, editing where I could but marking anything that was too complicated or demanding for me to figure out on the spot on an external card or piece of paper, coded by color depending on what strand of the story it belonged to:

Green (4): Ruth's game "Trapped in the Asylum."
Blue (12): Anna's game "Places of Power."
Red (2): "The Bacchae on Morningside Heights." 
Yellow (12): posts for Anna's blog, titled Anna's Aphorisms. 
White (9): general story stuff. 

That means I now have 37 little 'bits' to write, some just a couple sentences of what E. calls 'counter-history' for a neighborhood spot and others more complex in terms of needing to establish something about a relationship or a plot development or even serve as an entire new scene (only a couple of these I hope).  About to go out and tromp round the neighborhood for a few final physical details; will probably be writing these 'bits' over the next three days.

The novel falls into three parts, so once I've finished with the new 'bits' for part I, I'll go ahead and start typing in those revisions (the goal is to have written precise enough inserts so that it really is merely transcription, with only occasional need for an extra sentence or two of transition or alteration to reconcile contradictions).  I work best when I am away from the internet, which is why I prefer to keep things in the realm of pen and hard copy for as high a proportion of my work time as possible.  I will pick off the 'easy' bits first rather than doing them either by category or in order from start to finish; once they get written, they will get clipped or stapled to the relevant page of the manuscript.

So: Try and finish all new writing by Sunday morning, type the remaining edits on Sunday and Monday, print out the full new version Monday night, perform fiendishly intense copy-edit on Tuesday, type revisions and do a final proof before sending to E. on Wednesday afternoon.  This schedule may be impossibly compressed; if I have to, I'll take the manuscript with me to Cayman on Thursday and finish up with proofreading and corrections on Friday during the day.  I would prefer to be done by Wednesday evening but Friday end of day will certainly do.

I am teaching the final tenth or so of Clarissa on Monday and need to reread those pages this weekend (roughly 100K words); also have to give two lectures this coming week on Austen's Persuasion (I've taught the course before, so I don't need to write them fresh, but 'reinhabiting' old lecture notes is its own obligation, and I prefer to reread even very familiar novels before class).  A morning doctor's appointment and an afternoon with a good many meetings scheduled on Tuesday, so work time will be unfortunately curtailed; I also need to get allergy shots on Monday and Wednesday as I will be out of town the whole subsequent week.  Slightly overdid it on exercise on Wednesday and Thursday, so am taking today as wholly devoted to novel revision; it gave me a pang to skip midday boot camp downtown, and midday spin class, but there is something sore at the back of my left knee, it needed the rest....

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