Bunnies Made of Cheese: The First Draft

“Hey, dude. What’s in the binder?”

“Well, it’s the first draft of my book. I finished it this morning, and printed it out to have a paper copy to look at.”

i-bd3ab7a8b9e2bca6fe2a0c0eea8a12db-sm_first_draft.jpg

“Ooooh! The book about me?”

“Well, it’s a book about physics, featuring you. But yes, that’s the only book I’m working on at the moment.”

“That’s fantastic, dude. You’re all done, and now I get to be famous!”

“I wouldn’t say I’m all done. In fact, I’d say that the work is really just getting started.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, for one thing, it’s too long. The contract calls for 40,000 words, and this is a hair over 53,000. That’s about a third more book than I was supposed to provide.”

“Yeah, but more is always good, right? A bunny and a third is better than just one bunny.”

“In this case, not necessarily. I need to trim it down a good deal, and that’s almost worse than writing new material.”

“Just as long as you don’t cut the bits about me.”

“I’ll see what I can do. I also need to make sure that it all hangs together, since the last time I looked closely at Chapter 3 was in October. And I need to work on getting the figures to look right, which always takes longer than it ought to.”

“It needs more pictures of me!”

“Yes, it probably does. So, you see, there’s a bunch of work yet to do.”

“Yeah, but not right now, right?”

“No, not right now. Right now, I’m going to let it sit over Christmas, and then start revisions in January. For the moment, I’m just going to enjoy being done with the first pass.”

“Good plan. We should celebrate. Let’s go for a walk!”

“Yeah, let’s do that.”

———————-

The tally so far:

Introduction
Current Revision: 4

Total Words: 1,310

Chapter 1: Particle-Wave Duality

Current Revision: 5a

Total Words: 5,279

Chapter 2: The Uncertainty Principle

Current Revision: 7

Total Words: 4,499

Chapter 3: The Copenhagen Interpretation

Current Revision: 2

Total Words: 4,801

Chapter 4: The Many-Worlds Interpretation

Current Revision: 3

Total Words: 4,869

Chapter 5: The Quantum Zeno Effect

Current Revision: 2

Total Words: 3,263

Chapter 6: Quantum Tunneling

Current Revision: 4

Total Words: 4,426

Chapter 7: Entanglement

Current Revision: 3

Total Words: 6,343

Chapter 8: Quantum Teleportation

Current Revision: 2

Total Words: 5,030

Chapter 9: Extra Dimensions

Current Revision: 3(*)

Total Words: 5,249

Chapter 10: Virtual Particles

Current Revision: 5(*)

Total Words: 4,887

Chapter 11: Evil Squirrels

Current Revision: 2

Total Words: 3,159

Bonus Out-of-Context Dialogue: “The dog was right. You are evil squirrels.”

This looks like I added three whole chapters since the last progress report, plus the Introduction and finishing off the Teleportation chapter. That’s really kind of a cheat, though, as two of those chapters (marked with an asterisk) existed in more-or-less complete form from back when I wrote up the book proposal. I needed to revise them a bit, but not as drastically as I had originally thought.

The total word count for the great big file that I printed at Staples this afternoon is 53,308, on 213 pages (space and a half, with place-holder figures but no dog pictures). That’ll need to come down, but I’m not sure how much– I’ll have to talk to my editor. I’m sure there are lots of places where it can be tightened up a bit, and I’ll be looking for stuff to trim when I start going through it after the holidays.

For now, though, I’m declaring the first pass through the manuscript done, just in time for Christmas. And a fine present it is.

Comments

  1. #1 Ryan S.
    December 21, 2007

    The contract calls for 40,000 words, and this is a hair over 53,000. That’s about a third more book than I was supposed to provide.

    Don’t tell me that now when I read the 40,000 final version I’ll feel cheated out of the full 53000 version.

  2. #2 Johan Larson
    December 21, 2007

    In pop sci books like this, you are allowed to present one wildly controversial pet theory without any hint to the naive reader of just how far out it is. Did you avail yourself of this opportunity?

  3. #3 cisko
    December 21, 2007

    Great, you’ve finished 80% of the work! Now you just have the last 80% to wrap up.

    Seriously, even though there’s huge work left to do, this is a major milestone. Congratulations!

  4. #4 Brian Postow
    December 21, 2007

    When did she start calling you “dude”?

  5. #5 Chad Orzel
    December 22, 2007

    In pop sci books like this, you are allowed to present one wildly controversial pet theory without any hint to the naive reader of just how far out it is. Did you avail yourself of this opportunity?

    The problem with being an experimentalist is, I really don’t have a whacked-out pet theory of everything…

    When did she start calling you “dude”?

    The “Many Worlds” post, back in May.

  6. #6 Dennis
    December 22, 2007

    I can’t remember, is Bunnies Made of Cheese going to be the real title? If so that’s the best title I’ve heard of since John Dies at the End by David Wong.

  7. #7 Chad Orzel
    December 22, 2007

    The title on the contract is something like How to Talk to Your Dog About Quantum Physics. I’ve been thinking of it as Bunnies Made of Cheese: The Book, though.

  8. #8 Ron
    December 22, 2007

    If you need any more unqualified test readers….

  9. #9 K. Frech
    December 23, 2007

    Bunnies Made of Cheese would be a great actual title. How to Talk to Your Dog About Quantum Physics = enh. Dull. Bunnies Made of Cheese = different/interesting. Memorable. Different/memorable is good. Trust me; I’m a librarian.

  10. #10 Chad Orzel
    December 23, 2007

    The exact title is one of those areas where I figure I’m better off leaving things to the professionals. My editor and publisher make their living off of knowing how to sell books, and I’m happy to trust their judgement. I’ve also heard enough horror stories from people in publishing about authors who insisted that they knew the Exact Perfect Cover for their book, and I’d like to avoid being the subject of one of those anecdotes…

    Of course, that’s easy to say now. We’ll see how I feel when it starts to become reality…

  11. #11 Jim M.
    December 23, 2007

    I know it’s too late for this, and you probably considered and rejected what I’m about to suggest anyway, but I think I might find the very clever idea of engaging with your dog about QM even more appealing if she were to be teaching you, and you owed your deep understanding to the tutelage of your beloved dog, and there were some general attributions of progress in QM to physicists with dogs (‘Einstein should have had a dog or listened to his dog; you don’t think Schroedinger was responsible for putting a cat– all classicists and the true source of chaos theory, by the way– into that death box do you? His dog insisted on it or no more ideas’ etcetera). Sort of Archy and Mehetabel-like with a strong overtone of Daniel Pinkwater.

  12. #12 Hohn
    December 25, 2007

    Congratulations on this major milestone, and Merry Christmas to you and Kate and your loved ones!

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.