Done Like Dinner (well 1st draft!)

The weekend was quite satisfying. The best part was typing ‘THE END’ in big capital letters at the end of chapter 9, the final chapter. In a prior post, I had been writing on the finish line mentality: the closer to the finish, the more things seemed to drag on. Well, after writing the post and realizing the error of my ways, I picked up the pace! It’s only the first draft, so ‘THE END’ is just another beginning but, hey, it was just satisfying typing that. Actually, damn satisfying. Here.s how it looks:

'The End' on 1st Draft

‘The End’ on 1st Draft

What will I do? I’m going to Disneyland! Well, no. Not yet. Or maybe better yet never. I went for a walk down to Dallas road where the kitesurfers were practicing their arts and thought what to do after the first draft was finished.

There’s a list of short stories and novels I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had the time. Most of the reading lately has been research. The common theme behind the list is that the titles all have to do with the unexpected. It’s been collected over the years from a multitude of places. I kept the list running at the end of each Microsoft Word document that I was working on. As each chapter got completed, I would paste the list onto the end of the next Word document and so on. In other words, I’ve been looking guiltily at this list for a long time. Here it is:

Hermann Hesse The Glass Bead Game

Shalom Aleichem Lottery Ticket

Matilde Serao Land of Plenty

Edgar Allan Poe William Wilson

Honoré de Balzac The Wild Ass’s Skin

Jean Cocteau Children of the Game

Stephan Zweig The Gambler

Wow, some of these titles are surprisingly hard to find. Looking at the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) catalogue, couldn’t find the Balzac, Serao, Zweig, or Aleichem titles. Maybe some of the writers are obscure, but Balzac? C’mon!

What else now the first draft is done like dinner? Time to start rereading and rewriting. Let’s see how many pages there are as it stands:

Preface – 10 pages

Chapter 1 ‘Tragedy Equals Risk Times Time’ – 7 pages

Chapter 2 ‘The Power of Three’ – 10 pages

Chapter 3 ‘Forms of Tragedy’ – 18 pages

Chapter 4 ‘The Myth of the Price You Pay’ – 15 pages

Chapter 5 ‘Debemur morti’ – 2 pages

Chapter 6 ‘Elements of the Counter-Monetization’ – 8 pages

Chapter 7 ‘Taking the All-In Wager to the Stage’ – 21 pages

Chapter 8 ‘The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men’ – 18 pages

Chapter 9 ‘A Riddle’ – 17 pages

Grand total of 126 Microsoft Word pages. Now, I’m not quite sure how Microsoft Word pages will convert into the final product, but based on comparing number of words in Microsoft per page to the number of words per page in a standard type Penguin softcover, the factor is to divide by 0.6 to convert. So, 126 Word pages = 210 softcover pages. That’s a bit too many pages.

For what I’m doing, 100 to 150 pages should be more than sufficient. The ludic theory of tragedy is actually quite simple. This is no Critique of Pure Reason. I want the book to be approachable. Something a reader can finish in a couple of sittings, if not one. A lot of the best books are actually quite small. How to Do Things with Words by the philosopher Austin comes to mind. He clocks in just over 150 pages, but really short pages that you can slice through like butter. Same with another game changer, Abel’s Metatheatre. Seminal book. Only 146 pages. Big idea, small book. Let’s see what I can do.

Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong, and I have just finished the first draft in the never ending project of Doing Melpomene’s Work.