Mr. Sensitive

June 12, 2012

Book War II – Second Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 08:36

Week 1 was a failure.  The first read-through of Chapter 1 was successful enough, but edits upon re-edits upon de-edits reduced the whole business to a slap-fight in a mud-hole before the end of the first day.  The worst part is that I didn’t even finish Chapter 1; the markup of my second draft has as many red lines and margin-NOs as the first draft markup.  I’m clearly going about this all the wrong way.  I’m waging a war of attrition; that worked for Book War I, when the sole objective was to finish the job.  The sheer size of the task was the threat; if I could prevent that from overwhelming me, I could win.   So I kept my head down, went chapter by chapter and week-to-week, and that was that.   Now I want to perfect what I finished before; victories don’t matter if they’re not comprehensive, and the details I must encompass are the greatest threat.  I have to take account of the details, manage them and integrate them, while preventing them from distracting and disorienting me.  I’ve done this three times before and I still don’t know how to do it, at least not reliably or systematically.

I’m not demoralized by last week’s results; I didn’t have a tactical plan, I knew as much, I said as much, and I was willing to go in without one anyhow.  I thought I could get my bearings and improvise the needed tactics–like I said, this isn’t my first time–but I wasn’t certain of it.  Thus failure is disappointing, but hardly devastating.  I have to keep things moving, make this a war of maneuver again.  So I’m adopting a new tactical framework:

  • First, I’m separating read-through/mark-up operations from edit/re-write operations, conceptually and physically.  I’ve set up a reading area in the master bedroom upstairs; when I read, I’ll have the printed copy of each chapter, my notepad, and my pens and pencils, but not the computer.  No computer means no temptation to mix read-through and re-write.  Each operation should be cleaner as a result.  I tried this yesterday and the early results are encouraging.
  • Second, I’m moving edit/re-write to the weekends.  Read-through during the week; re-write of all the week’s read-throughs on the weekend.  Furthermore, I will make the mark-up changes as mechanically as possible, relying on the quality of the read-through/mark-up to carry through.  My process will be as follows: read through a chapter, marking up the draft and making provisional rewrites in the margins; then, separately, make the changes to the Word document specified in the mark-up.  Last week I attempted a second, overlapping read-through while I was making the mark-up changes, and that was a disaster.  No more of that.
  • In addition, I’m bypassing Chapter 1.  I did the mark-up, but then I compromised it with a second mark-up overlapping the first.  I pulled enough from the read-through to move on, and that’s what I’m doing.  This will allow me to wrest back the initiative.

Yesterday went well enough; I’m moving to Chapter 3 today.




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