Interesting thing – I crossed into the 300-page range on Early Retyrement the other night. Oh, there was still typos and boner phrases (“…a handful of feet away…”). But at this point of the novel, with the story elements coming together for the conclusion, I finally settled down.

Not many that’s. Very few seems. And the likes were rather clever.

I’m wondering what happened way back in 1999 while I was writing those pages, what outlook shift took place. Before the 300 mark I was still a wannabe, just out of The Writer’s Room, still learning. Yet suddenly, over a handful of chapters, it leveled off. Not soft as silk, not yet. More like sanded plywood, smooth but for the occasionally splinter.

After Early’s failure to place an agent, I’d reshape it’s ancient landscapes into Fire and Bronze. While tooling that out, I’d sell my sister on the format for the tightly-written, wacky Don’t Jettison Medicine.

There is always room for improvement. F&B was too clever with its Canannite words. Wenanon had its ductwork reconfigured. Even Indigo shed a pound or two when I slashed fifty pages of heartache from it (good call, Jesse). I’m still learning, even with the various projects I toy with now.

By the end of my life, I might manage a really sharp epitaph.