Revising the book

Over the holiday weekend, in between a couple of barbecues, buying a new TV and getting it set up, house-hunting and giving our current apartment a much-needed cleaning, I spent an hour at a coffee shop working on my thesis. I did something I have been putting off for some time: I combined all of my Microsoft Word files into one, long, book-like document.

It was 170 pages, about 50,000 words. This was both satisfying ( I wrote 170 pages! On one topic!) and somewhat demoralizing (I still have 80 pages to go, possibly more). Still, it was a source of encouragement, as I have been flopping and flailing about, having trouble getting going on new chapters.

Now that my 170 pages are all in one document, I can start to see edits that need to be made. Yesterday I revised the first chapter, and, as expected, my page count shrunk. As I edit and revise more, the whole thing is definitely going to get shorter and shorter, which I guess I will just have to live with. But revising the first chapter felt good. It feels more like a first chapter of a book than a piece of writing I turned in to a workshop at school.

My next revision is more daunting: I need to combine (and reduce) three different chapters into one. I’m doing this  in two steps. The first is the old-fashioned way… I’m printing it all out, and I’m going to spend a couple of hours spreading the pages out on the floor. I’ll use scissors to cut sections and either remove them or move them around. Then, back to the computer for more edits.


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