There, there …

Today I read through the manuscript of The Islanders for the last time (well, last for now), and made a few fine corrections. One short paragraph contained the word “there” three times in as many lines. How do these things slip past? Found a few other infelicities. At these times I remember something John Brunner said: when a piece of fiction has been through at least two drafts (The Islanders went through three), any text corrections a writer makes after that are only for the sake of his own pride. OK, but they still needed doing.

Then tried to move the text over from my preferred word processor to the one everyone else uses. In other words, from the elegant, stable and endlessly flexible Wordperfect, to the obdurately clumsy Word. Everyone who uses Word seems to think there’s no difference between it and anything else, but there is, although it’s tedious and pointless trying to persuade them. In this case, Word made nonsense of my simply laid out page numbers in the original, and the short section of the novel I had formatted into two columns became a scramble of letters laid out perfectly, a long column, one beneath another. Took me ages to correct this.

Now the book exists in the obdurately clumsy, and everyone except me will be happy with that.