Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Thirty-Two Pages?! I Guess There's No Such Thing As A Petty Detail.

It was an odd moment in the history of technology, the year I learned to type. My high school still conducted its typing instruction in a room full of actual typewriters, while at home I practiced typing on a then-cutting-edge Apple IIe.

Both my typing teacher and my typing instruction video game--the one in which I blew away invading aliens with the speed of my return to the home row--insisted that the end of every sentence was to be followed by two taps of the space key. Apparently that's an antiquated non-rule rule now, one that actively annoys people in production departments at publishing houses. Who knew?

So tonight, pining for the Big Book, I did a search-and-replace to bring that manuscript up to current typographical standards. (I'd love to dive back into the Beltresin novels, but I have other promises to keep first, so no mucking about in the story for me.) In a matter of seconds, it was 32 pages shorter. It's still too long, of course, but the page count at the bottom of the screen is no longer quite so mortifying.

Microsoft Word informs me that there are slightly more than 16,000 sentences in the Big Book. On no particular basis, I would have guessed there would be more. One eliminated keystroke, times 16,000...if I'd tried to cut that many pages of actual storytelling, it would have taken a week's work at my current pace--a week, assuming seven consecutive days of getting out of the house to write, which doesn't generally happen here in Parentworld. I suppose it would be possible to Just Cut Stuff faster than that, but I'd rather cut thoughtfully than fast.

Thirty-two pages. I think that really is the last of the low-hanging fruit.
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