Not Set in Stone

Back in May, I mentioned that I was diving into revisions on a new book. Back then, my working title was “Set In Stone”, but that has since been set aside in favour of something more fabulous, about which more later. I probably should have known better than to tempt fate with such a dogmatic title in the first place. My next WIP is going to be entitled, “Don’t Change a Word”.

The last few months have seen me dipping in and out of that manuscript as needed, in the midst of various other bits and pieces including Book Week and its many joys.

Just yesterday, I moved the latest draft off my desk and back onto my editor’s. There is more work to be done, but with each round, the scale diminishes. Eventually the spiral of revisions will narrow to the finest of points before finally disappearing, and the book will move into the hands of others.

At this point, we are scheduled for a May release, which means that most of my work will be done and dusted before Christmas, which is excellent timing. I really must ‘plan’ all my books this way. (For the purposes of anything you read by me in the future, assume that all words such as plan, schedule, organise etc appear in inverted commas, with a backdrop of manic laughter).

Speaking of diminishing, after the latest round of revisions, I somehow trimmed almost 6000 words or about 10% from the manuscript. This after reducing the previous draft by a similar factor. At this rate, by the time the book hits shelves, it may consist of a single word. That would be groundbreakingly postmodern, right?

This book is very different to anything else I’ve written and has required, among other things, a reasonable amount of research. I can advise that in the service of this book, I have googled the following things:

* caving, spelunking
* Franz Kafka
* alpine forests; alpine flora
* Dulfersitz rappel
* nutrition and osteoporosis; osteoporosis and childbirth
* colostrum
* oxytocin/pitocin, inducted labour
* when was glass first made and how?
* shade-tolerant vegetables
* techniques for smoking meat
* is it possible for a bird to fly with a broken wing?
* vaguely Germanic-sounding names

I daren’t ask you to speculate as to what it is I’m writing. I suspect it all sounds quite strange. I suspect it might be, actually. But I do like a healthy dose of strange. Here’s hoping readers do, too.

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