So what could be harder than cutting 30% out of a manuscript? How about getting rid of everything EXCEPT 25%? Yup, that's the situation in which I find myself with the Karen Brain biography. So I'm diligently taking my 180 page manuscript and hacking away at it so I am left with approximately 45 pages. This so we can include plenty of photos throughout without breaking the bank. The length will actually wind up being very similar to the BTS books and will definitely put the finished book firmly in the land of books for 8-12 year-olds.
The good news is that Sono Nis would like me to do a second version of the biography, for adults and teens. The bad news on that front is that the original 180 pages are written for a younger audience and the manuscript isn't really long or detailed enough to satisfy an adult reader. I'll have to go back to my original interviews to pull out more details, conduct more research/interviews, and then have another crack at the longer book. In related (nearly awful) news, I came into the living room the other day only to discover the dogs had gone through my briefcase. For whatever strange reason, they decided that my digital voice recorder and [expensive!] Sony microphone were snack-worthy... Shards of digital debris everywhere! LUCKILY - I think I have everything downloaded from the recorder as I can't get anything to turn on and even if I could get any kind of turning on action, there is no data screen left! Also fortunate, the batteries were wedged in pretty tightly so even though the criminal hounds had removed the battery door, the batteries only show a couple of superficial tooth marks but no battery acid was consumed.
All of this trauma makes me very, very glad that I always take copious notes during an interview, just in case of equipment failure just like this!
So, how much cutting have I done so far? Not quite enough, but impressive nonetheless. Karen is post-op and about to move into Parkwood Rehabilitation Hospital and I'm only on page 48! So, the last section (recovery and getting to the Olympics) will be handled in the next section and that will give me a much reduced new first draft to work with. The next sweep should get me pretty close to where we need to be lengthwise for the draft that will [finally] get to my editor, Laura Petoum, in Toronto. For the short version, anyway. It looks like I'll be agonizing over the longer book for a while yet. Sorry. But if I have to suffer like this, it only seems right that blog-readers share my pain!