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Thursday, 24 March 2011

March 2002: the oldest of my writing journal.

By way of background:
I think that when I began this, there weren't any blogs.  I called it a journal.  Well, now I'm moving into modern times, and I have dragged all of the old stuff over. At the point in time when I wrote this, the book below was just about to emerge.

A bit of digging will reveal that I am Peter Macinnis, and the book cover above is a dead giveaway. I'm a committed writer. It's what I do all day. This is a warts and all account of the writing process. 

24 March, 2002

Chugging along, doing some reading and some thinking.

22 March, 2002

I completed the drawings last night, did a spreadsheet for the illustrations for Bittersweet, added captions, identified the sources, and added in an illustration I found at Fisher Library the other day — it was from a book dated 1650, so there are no copyright issues. The same library visit netted me some good material from 1825 on rockets, but also stuff on railways and canals, smallpox, Australian natural history circa 1825, and Wellington's battles in Spain. I don't know when or where these will be used, but when you see good material, you grab it, because sooner or later, it will fit in somewhere.Today, I took the corrected page proofs, the finished drawings and all of the additional references to the publishers. You try to be a sophisticated adult at times like this, but when I came out of their offices, I felt like dancing down the streets — and it was raining! So instead of dancing, I portled along, humming an off-key version of "Singing in the Rain" and getting odd looks — either I was louder than I thought, or the silly grin was showing. The book is finished, so far as I am concerned, except for one last look at page proofs, Rachel, the publicity person was very positive, as the Allen and Unwin people are all along, and everything is going well.

This is the sort of thing you probably would not think about, but all writers have doubts, even apparent egomaniac extroverts like me. A good publisher knows this, and swats the doubts before they surface. I suppose if you want to be cynical, they have invested money, and don't want it to come unstuck, but I have always had very positive vibes from Allen and Unwin. Even when they sent me rejection slips on past proposals, they were positive :-)

So: farewell to sugar for now, and back to the rockets again. The draft contains some 19 500 words of more or less complete text, in several separated strands: I need to build these strands, tie them together and get a good idea of what the book will say, and I have one month to do it before I fly off to Turkey, leaving our (adult) children to mind the house. My target is about 55 000 words, so if I can do 2000 words a day, that will get me to about 80 000, and then I can start hacking back. But tonight, we are off to have dinner out: we have earned it.

19 March, 2002

Well, I got bogged down in the trivia of many, many pieces of paper, so the drawings didn't get done, but I sorted a few other things out and spent two hours trying to source engravings that I wish to use as illustrations. Now I know where there is a book that will tell me where to find them, and that the library is open late on Thursday. Tonight, some drawings must happen!

18 March, 2002 

Phone call to inhouse editor, we got the illustration problems solved. Tonight I will draw two pictures, and finalise the rest.

17 March, 2002
Just about all day on the proofs, sifting through, sorting sources for quotes that I had missed, found one more real error that the proof-reader missed (decode for decide). Deal with exciting questions like punctuation.

16 March, 2002
Chasing missing references from the bibliography of Bittersweet, looking over the proofing editor's comments. She has found two errors I missed, I have found one she has missed, and she has made large numbers of sensible corrections. (In fairness, the one she missed was in Spanish :-)

15 March, 2002
Emailed my inhouse editor, Emma, about illustrations. The page proofs of Bittersweet arrived back. Wrote 1500 words on rockets, mainly assembling interesting quotes, some of which will be turned into narrative. Then tried to find the River Bug in Poland, because I hope to see it when I go there in a couple of months — some brave Poles hid a V2 rocket in its muddy waters during World War II.

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