I posted chapters 10 and 1 early this year, and then took time off to study the publishing world. I learned very quickly that my chapters were far too long. The appropriate length for a large book is about 100,000 words, meaning that each chapter of this book should be around 10,000, say 8,000 – 12,000 words. In my first draft, Chapter 10 was 20,000 words long. Chapter 1, at 60,000 words, was almost long enough to be its own book! At first, I toyed with the idea of pitching the print version of the book as a five-volume set. I only had to contact two or three publishers to learn that they had no interest in such a project. I understood that I’d have to condense each completed chapter to about 12,000 words or less. Certainly the first and last will be two of the longest chapters in the completed book.
I am happy to announce that the 2nd draft of Chapter 10 is now finished and posted online. It is now down to just under 12,000 words. It’s been several months. Writing has been unusually slow this year. As I mentioned, I took off the first half of the year to study the writing / publishing industry and to set up this website. Then my life was completely dominated by a move through the summer and fall.
It was a very interesting project to rewrite and shorten this material. Cutting Chapter 10 in half forced me to be more broad and sparing in detail. I felt it become less like a dissertation and more like a popular science book. That has its pros and cons. As a consumer item and a pitch to publishers, it will have to be easily readable. Even as an educational tool, it is best to keep it simple. As a lifelong goal, though, I would like TEOH to be a serious research project with original insights and thorough arguments (I consider it my honorary PhD dissertation at the School of Life). For economy of words, I am being forced to reduce much of my analysis to surface conclusions. I think that the hybrid solution is to continue with the single-volume version, and then eventually expand each chapter into its own short book.
The next step, then, is reducing Chapter 1 to legitimate chapter-size. This will be a hell of a challenge. I need to slash that chapter down to 20% of its current size. I will try to finish that this year. Then I’ll be able to start early 2015 exactly where I should have been in early 2014!
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