Inhuman Swill : Writing : Page 27

Chapter 43: "Whiplash"

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Hey, I'm back in the game, and back up to 870 ms pages. Woo-hoo!

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Back up to 848 ms pages. Manuscript goes in the mail to my agent first thing tomorrow. Or today, rather.

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Shrinkage

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Okay, I've taken the memoir about as far down as I can go now, from 947 pages to 833. That a little more than 12% shrinkage, or almost an eighth of the book. Wow! I've also gone from 47 chapters to 41.

Now I have just one more chapter to write—the money shot, "Words and Phrases You Must Never Use in Airports"—before I'm at a place where I can send the nearly damn complete manuscript to my agent for forwarding to HarperCollins. Tomorrow!

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Missionary Man

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So my agent has an editor at HarperCollins interested in the memoir. Unfortunately, a different Harper editor has already rejected it, so the title has to change for this new submission. Therefore, the book henceforth is called Missionary Man, not The Accidental Terrorist. (It will also help, of course, that there's now almost twice as much book as there was on the previous submission. That will go far toward helping everyone involved pretend this is a fresh submission.)

In preparation for delivering the almost-complete manuscript, I've been eliminating some chapters that have given other editors pause, including the three chapters about my stint at the Clarion science-fiction writing workshop in the summer of 1985. I'm pleased to say that in the past week I've whittled the ms down from 947 to 855 pages, and I still have one more unnecessary chapter to purge. The tricky thing has been finding ways to interpolate condensations of some of the salient backstory from the material I've eliminated into the remaining narrative. But I'm just about done! With luck I'll have the ms in the mail to Shawna on Monday.

Anyway, that's why, when I resume the new-chapter postings, the chapter and page counts will have shrunk.

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947 ms pages and counting.

You may notice that this is Chapter 47, when the last chapter I announced was 48. I did a little reorganization, and now there are fewer chapters.

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933 ms pages and counting.

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Chapter 47: "Gator Aids"

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919 ms pages. Still cranking.

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907 ms pages, and still the horror lives!

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891 ms pages and counting.

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883 pages now. God. When this whole thing is done, I'm going to have to try to chop out at least a quarter of it.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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