In case you are wondering why this picture is out of season, I’m thinking it might very well go on the cover of Harry’s Book. I took it the first time we hiked above the tree line: you can see he is still quite puppyish there.
I’m blogging about it now as he has just finished the first very (very!) rough draft. One advantage of the dreary weather throughout January is that he has been less tempted to be outside all day and has buckled down to work.
About 25,000 words were put together last winter. Your average 200-page book needs about 80,000 words unless there are illustrations, in which case less is OK. So far he has 65,000, but a lot of sections will need extra sentences to make the finished work less stilted and flow better. (And there will be a lot of illustrations.) For the first draft, Harry started at the beginning and simply kept writing until the end. There was no attempt to sort things out very much as the frame of the book was not very apparent until the manuscript was finished.
Now the manuscript is being reworked. It is now much more obvious where things go. Once this draft is finished, it will be printed off and Harry will go through it very carefully. It will be easier with a hard copy to see which details should go where and to delete any repeats. It is very helpful to go back and forth between a hard copy and a computer screen. Things look differently on the different substrates. Because I started my writing career by sending letters to Peter Gzowski’s Morningside on CBC Radio, I used always to read the material out loud as I wrote it. I find that this practice also helps a book manuscript to flow better, and I have encouraged Harry to do this.
Just thought you’d like to know how he is getting on!