So, last week I opened up No Foreign Sky and began to turn worldbuilding text red in order to better assess how much there is and how infodumpy vs integrated the worldbuilding is. And this, in combination with the comments of first readers, is proving useful.
However, when we got to this three-day weekend, I kind of just really, REALLY wanted to go back to Tasmakat.
Hmm, I said. It’s only February, I said. I don’t actually need to have No Foreign Sky totally finished until May, I pointed out to myself.
Besides, my birthday is coming up, so why not treat myself to working on Tasmakat this weekend as a (slightly) early birthday present / consolation for getting older?
So I did.
The main revision here is rolling one minor character’s role into a different character’s role, and since this isn’t relevant until the final third of the book, that’s far (enormously far) from the most extensive revision I’ve ever done. Especially since for a whole whopping lot of the final third, neither character is on stage.
The significant decision regarded whether to remove the minor character entirely, and for various reasons I didn’t. Having removed minor characters in the past, I can tell you that the Find command is crucial for complete character removal. Never trust yourself to get every single mention of a character without it, that’s my motto. But I decided to reorient the minor character’s role in a different direction rather than remove him entirely. He has an even more minor yet still important role now.
Anyway, this turned out to be not that much trouble at all, EXCEPT, the minor character is male and the character who is picking up his role is a woman and therefore all the pronouns need to shift. You know what is really difficult that the Find command can’t help with one bit? That.
I know from experience that it’s almost impossible to get all the pronouns. You think you have, you’re positive you have, you re-read those sections a zillion times, but no! In one sentence, she raises his hand, and it’s all very provoking. I’m betting that every proofreader finds one instance of a wrong pronoun and that I still find one at the last second on my final read-through of a paper copy, because that just seems inevitable, but we shall see.
Anyway, I will totally finish this basic revision by the end of the day, I believe.
My new laptop is very nice and significantly less annoying in a thousand different ways, but I am having to train the grammar checker. That is, rather than going into the options and turning off everything in creation, I’m letting the grammar checker say “Are you sure you want a comma here?” and “Wordy — would you like to rephrase?” and hitting “Don’t check for this issue” over and over. That is less annoying than trying to adjust it all at once. I’m also observing the sorts of things it isn’t catching. It ought to pick up period-period-space, but it doesn’t always. It would be nice if it caught failure to put a period at the end of a paragraph, but it doesn’t always. It would be great if it caught “has” that should be “had” because for some reason I keep doing that lately, and I’m calling that part of the homonym blindness. It seems blind to that mistake, which is weird, since verb tense errors ought to be something a grammar checker is reasonably capable of picking up.
ANYWAY, after this, I will indeed go back to No Foreign Sky.
I’ve seen various sketches for the cover, by the way. You know what that means, of course. It means I have to try to write back cover copy.