Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

Books and writing (and cheese)

Had a very nice dinner with tillyjane and AH. the_child and her mother came, as did lillypond, her husband and the Niece, along with E. Cheese was fine, details on that later.

AH showed me a book she's reading, Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe by Thomas Cahill. Amazon ] As she pointed out, it's one of the most beautiful books either of us has ever seen, as book qua object. The interior design is astonishing, with color plates, insets -- it in effect echoes the tradition of the illuminated manuscript. She wasn't so crazy about his style, as it apparently veers between scholarly and colloquial. As AH (who has a master's in history and works as a librarian) points out, that approach will rapidly become dated and reduce the book's long-term staying power. Still, it's gorgeous and well worth checking out.

Because all the cool kids are doing it, I'll point out novel_in_90, a community dedicated to 750 words a day of novel production. I'm afraid I'll sit this one out. I've got two big revisions in front of me, and am not cued up to launch into a new manuscript probably until March. (If I was, I'd be shooting for 2,500 words a day.) While I'm strongly in favor of anything that gets people writing, I'm a bit dubious about the stated motivation-through-mockery model. I perceive that as rather tongue-in-cheek, but I could be wrong, and suspect too many folks will take the mocking literally regardless of original intent. Still, best of luck to all there. I watch with great interest.

I also have a question. How do you count word count in the revision process? I'm not sure it's a measurable quantity, but since that's my baseline productivity metric everywhere else, I'd like to see it here. The problem is I've never been able to suss out how to evaluate it. ie, if I have 100 words, I cut 20 and add 20, I still have 100 words. How much did I write, in terms of counting? How do I even tell I cut 20? I know my beginning and ending wordcounts, ie, net change, but that could just easily be net negative.

How do you handle this? Or do you? Thoughts on assessing productivity of the revision process?
Tags: books, cheese, lj, process, writing
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