After spending a long weekend hammering away at the text, I am now happy to say that the first formal iteration of Written in Stone is nearly complete.
It has been difficult work. Making sure that the narrative flows smoothly throughout the book has been among the top challenges, especially since I am not using the somewhat worn technique of starting at a point in earth’s history and chronologically creeping towards the present. Instead I am using the history of science as a way to introduce what we have come to understand about the history of life from the fossil record. The two narratives are complementary, but it takes some care to bring them together in a way that is not repetitive.
And I have been by turns pleased and horrified by my own work. Some parts of the manuscript made me proud of my writing, which is a rare feeling for me, while others sent my fingers dashing to the “backspace” key to delete passages I could hardly believe I had written. In general, though, I am fairly content with the way the manuscript has turned out. It is not finished yet, but the work that remains to be done involves tweaking details more than large-scale construction.
If all goes well the first complete draft of Written in Stone should be completed tonight, at which point I will send it off to my editor. That will give me a little time to refresh myself and finish some other projects, but once I get the edits back I will have to work hard to clean up the manuscript. The book is slated for completion by the end of January. I really do not have time to spare.
All that aside, I truly do appreciate those of you who continue to check this blog despite the recent lull. Finishing my first book has obviously taken priority over writing new essays for this blog, but I aim to get back into the habit of writing more substantial posts this week. Stay tuned.