The Legendary Semi-Autobiographical First Novel: latest update

It’s some time since I last updated on progress on preparing my thirty year old first draft novel for publication in at least a  private form. Since I last mentioned it, things have gone on quite a way.

The transcription of the original manuscript has now been completed. It go quite intense over the last six chapters or so, as I became obsessed with copying up each chapter so that I could read the next part of the story, so much so that once I had allowed myself to read the end, its transcription took a lot longer to make than the previous three chapters put together.

This achieved, there were some loose sheets in the binder I had to review. These included some additional or alternate scenes and variant versions, and those which were worth copying up, with a view to being used in the second draft.

I then wanted to create as pure and clean a First Draft Copy as I could. The transcripts had been decorated with alternate versions in different font colours, not to mention copious alternate lines and leads that will pertain to a redraft. These had to be stripped out, the chapters proofread, inconsistencies tidied up, gaps filled in (I had not interrupted the flow of the first draft by checking details such as, if my characters went to the cinema, what films were about for them to watch, and of course more proofreading.

This achieved, I then built a template copy for uploading to, involving reformatting, selecting fonts, font-size and removing orphan and widow controls on paragraphs split across page bottoms. I’m currently building in headers and page number footers, which apparently have to be reinserted for each chapter, given that they’ve been cut-and-pasted individually. It’s all very time-consuming. And dull.

But I’ve uploaded a preliminary version of the document and had an initial look at a camera-ready version. Since the Lulu template is slightly different from the identical Lulu template I’ve used (!?), this is now going to be a slow and tedious thing involving resetting any orphan and widow issues that creep in, and multiple uploading and downloading until it’s right. I may even reduce the font-size by half a point to see how that looks.

Lucky it’s weekend, isn’t it?

Once that’s done, I’ll select and complete a cover and order a proof copy for myself.

And then the hard work begins. But I have four days off, the complete Easter weekend. That’s where the Second Draft begins. Almost thirty years to the day after the first draft ended.


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