Stage Three overlaps Stage Two, because–especially this time–there’s no reason to ignore 3rd level problems while reading aloud to someone from the computer screen (there is no print-out yet.) So if I find an entire paragraph that’s now redundant (a Stage Two problem) I just delete it, or a temporal-sequence problem, I mark that section in red and fix it when through reading, and if I find a typo (and boyoboy do I find typoes!) I fix it. Same with “infelicitous phrasing,” doubled doubled words, and so on.
Every book *should* have (can easily have if you don’t have a submission deadline) at least three full length revisions: structural, constructional, surface polish. And also at least three readings: one of them voiced, out loud, two by readers with somewhat different ages/backgrounds, etc. This time my original first-reader (Rancherfriend Ellen) can no longer read, because of severe macular degeneration, so I’ve been calling her up every day and reading a chapter or two to her, as I’ve finished that part’s stage two (or think I have. She was a superb first reader, and she notices even hearing the book that “you said that already last time–we don’t need that bit.” This has been good for both of us.
DRW (Readerfriend DavidW) is another first reader, and I’m about to go to R-, who has been busy with other things while I worked on it, and combines well as a stage 2 and stage 3 reader because he picks nits like nobody’s business as well as spotting deeper problems. He doesn’t read as fast anymore, though. I’ve also had another first-reader take sporadic looks at it, but she’s got a busy schedule otherwise: she edits, writes, and teaches workshops.
I had wanted to be here two weeks ago, and would have been if not for the tooth problems and a few other complications in our lives, but I’m here now, and the book WILL go off to my agent this week (unless I croak. Always a consideration when over 75.) The book is now sitting at 167, 273 words, and wandering up and down a few at every pass as I fill holes and trim off excess. Probably will go in to agent close to 170,000.
Farrier comes today, in a couple of hours most likely, so this is just a quick update.