You may occasionally wonder what I’m working on. I don’t like talking about things that are in the early stages, but COPPER MOUNTAIN is way past that point. Also, since bringing out TUYO, I’ve seen a handful of comments like, “Well, the one I REALLY want to read is COPPER MOUNTAIN, but fine.”

I’m happy to know that various readers are eager to see COPPER MOUNTAIN hit the shelves. I honestly thought I might get through the complete revision over the July 4th weekend, but it’s stretching out longer than I thought, so that didn’t happen.

However, I am working on it, I am making progress, and I am happy with how it’s going. I am absolutely certain I will bring it out this year, but perhaps closer to Halloween.

Stuff I’m doing:

–Adding transitional material that helps the first half of the story flow better and prevents it from feeling too episodic. I think this is working pretty well.

–Trying to prevent certain minor secondary characters from being present in the first half and then disappearing from the second half. I’m not entirely sure I can quite pull this off considering how large the cast is already, but we’ll see.

–Giving Natividad a more definite character arc. I just figured out how to do that, I hope, and I’m working on that now.

–Smoothing out the last bit and making certain things happen in a more plausible and also less repetitive way. I think I know how to do that.

–Deciding whether a certain character remembers certain things at the end of the novel and clarifying for the reader the moment he forgets these things, if he does, and making him deal with them if he remembers them. There’s not much to DO here, but I have to decide which way it goes.

–Speeding up the feel of the first half, even though I’m adding transitional material. There are two basic ways to help the pace feel faster without actually chopping large chunks out of the manuscript:

a) cut at the sentence level.

b) shorten the chapter length and just have more chapters.

I will probably be doing both. Those are mechanical jobs that don’t require a lot of close attention but do take some time.

For those of you who read this manuscript earlier this year and provided feedback, thank you so much! I had to practically resort to archaeology to unearth your comments, buried way back in my email, but I very much appreciated your feedback once I pulled COPPER MOUNTAIN back out.

For those of you particularly impatient for a look at it, in the not too distant future, I would appreciate a couple of gimlet-eyed readers making a copy-editing pass through the manuscript. I hesitate to ask those of you who looked over TUYO because you did a great job, but I would feel like I was imposing to ask you to look over COPPER MOUNTAIN too. But if you happen to see this post and want to see the story early and don’t mind, by all means let me know.

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12 thoughts on “COPPER MOUNTAIN: Progress!”

  1. I am pretty good at copy editing, but not good at real editing of fiction. (Much better on technical papers.)

  2. Glad I could help with the beta read, but too busy to help right now – my younger daughter has an operation today, and she’s going to be one cranky baby afterwards

  3. Sarah, good luck to your daughter! I hope she recovers smoothly.

    Hanneke, good! Because you have a real knack for catching all kinds of things no one else does. I will never understand that, but that’s the way it always turns out.

    Allan and Pete, thanks, and copy editing is all I ask, Pete. Substantive critiques are always welcome but by the time I ask people to read for typos and just plain continuity errors, I should be pretty happy with the general flow of the story.

  4. I’m looking forward to reading it, and I’d be glad to copy-edit it. Pete, I’m with you–I’m not good at catching substantive issues. Even when something isn’t working for me, I frequently can’t articulate the problem.

  5. I’m glad to be useful, but feel a bit weird that I don’t catch any of the things that others notice.
    Maybe it’s my foreign eye, trained mostly on book reading rather than colloquial speech?
    And the mixture of English and American (and a little bit of Australian) spelling and idiom that’s gotten all jumbled up in my head, so my eye passes over them all as acceptable variations.

    And I don’t differentiate between the different grammar rules, which I think sometimes mentally bleed over even from Dutch usage. I get confused about where the punctuation goes, in regard to “speech quotes” and parentheses (when does the comma or full stop go inside or outside the quotes? Sometimes apparently the starting quotation mark is left off at the start of a paragraph if the same person continues speaking, which I find extremely confusing…) in American; and really can’t tell the difference between “m-dashes” and “n-dashes” as I don’t think that difference occurs in Dutch.

    Still feels a bit weird, that I think I’ve done a good job and then turn out to have missed at least as many typos as I found, or maybe even twice as much. Good thing it’s not my day job, but I’m glad to help anyway.

  6. So happy to hear this! (You hadn’t mentioned Copper Mountain in a while, so I was crossing my fingers that it was still in progress.)

    I, too, miss more typos than I catch (if I’m enjoying a story I find it very hard to read slowly!), but if another set of eyes would be helpful I would be delighted to get Copper Mountain before Halloween!

    Saraz, hope the operation went well and that daughter is doing fine.

  7. Hanekke–
    The en-dash is amost never used. It’s a hyphen–or it’s an em-dash.

  8. L. says she tried to comment but it got stuck in moderation. We’d certainly be glad to read it over. (Which is to say L. will do her usual extremely thorough job, and I’ll also find a few things. :-))

  9. Mike, beats me why, but yes, every now and then some random comment gets shunted into moderation. Sorry I didn’t notice earlier. If you’re not feeling like it’s an imposition, then sure, I’d be very pleased if you and Linda look over the manuscript when it’s eventually ready.

  10. Hanneke, they don’t catch the things you catch either, even though ANYONE can see most of these are OBVIOUS typos. It’s just really weird how everyone catches different things.

    Kim, you, and Linda catch the most — Linda queries a lot of commas — but all of you catch different, obvious, typos. The kind that I SHOULD CATCH MYSELF.

    I actually think the likeliest explanation is that all of us, especially me, skim some of the time without noticing and miss obvious typos when we’re skimming.

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