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First draft

December 21, 2015

This one feels like a milestone, and not just because it weighs as much as a slab of granite: I’ve finished my first draft.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s a different kind of work. I’m not ready to show anyone else just yet, but it’s close to that point, and if someone were to see it in its current state, they’d at least be able to see what I’m going for. That is, it’s now an actual thing, with a beginning and a middle and and end that I can read and react to. I have a lot of reading and reacting to do, especially in the next few weeks, but it’s mostly just to dress it up a little. Even Frankenstein[‘s monster, you pedants] wore a sport jacket.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to read through it a few times and compile my notes into two categories: what can I revise on my own, and what requires additional information for revision. The first category is things like structure and style, reworking the content I already have. The second category is much more important in the short term, because that’s how I’m going to figure out who I need to talk to and what I need to ask them.

This manuscript is 356 pages, and I’d expect that to expand by at least 50% before I start really trimming it (though plenty of stuff has already been cut, obviously). But I’ll soon know exactly what I need, and most of the folks I’ll be interviewing are people I’ve already made contact with (or in some cases, already interviewed multiple times). So it will be easier to find people (even those I haven’t found yet will be easier via the connections I’ve already made) and I can be much more targeted with my questions. The paradoxical thing about interviewing is that while they’re a great way to gather information, they’re more fruitful the more you know in advance. And I know a lot more now than I did when I first got to Athens six winters ago. And transcribing will be easier, because I’ll know which quotes I need to grab, and they’ll be easier to slot into the overall work because it’s so put together already. It’s mainly just a matter of juggling a schedule of interviews with people who are mostly super busy, kind of flaky, or both.

The other nice thing about this stage is that I can work on it without a computer anywhere near me.

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