Saturday, January 21, 2012

Writing Update

It didn’t take me very long to go through the copy-editing of Zero Point. There were a few questions asked to which the answers ranged from, ‘Yes, do it,’ to, ‘No, leave it alone’. What would you think the answer should be, for example, to changing EMR and EMF to EM radiation and EM field? The rest of it was all about house style. I had a momentary worry when I thought they might be deleting all my ellipses until I was informed they were supplanting them with just a more widely-spaced version. I also learned something about enquire/inquire (as used by Macmillan). The former is for general usage, the latter is used more for asking for information as part of a formal investigation. I really should have known this since the distinction is in their dictionary definitions.

Perhaps it’s time for me to pick up and read again Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Incidentally another much simpler book to read about this sort of stuff is Bill Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words, though in this case it doesn’t happen to make the distinction.

After finishing with Zero Point, also writing the acknowledgements and dedication, I was undecided for a while about how to proceed. I really needed to look at Jupiter War again, but was reluctant to get into another boring read-through when I was having so much fun with Penny Royal. I decided on the boring read-through, since it wasn’t going to just go away, and it’s going quite well. Little inconsistencies and conflicts that were niggling at the back of my mind it turns out I had already nailed, and the reading is easy. I’m now more than halfway through it and when I’m done I’ll print it up, hand it over to Caroline, then later go through it myself again, backwards.

Then it’s back to Penny Royal.


bhhenry said...

Speaking of "Modern English Usage" -- finally a chance to comment to The Technician -- I loved the book, but after a while had to cringe every few pages when encountering "whilst." 100 occurrences in 352 pages. ;-)

According to Wikipedia, "In standard British English and Australian English, whilst is a conjunction synonymous with while," whereas, "In American English and Canadian English, whilst could be considered pretentious or archaic."

Are any editorial changes made for the American release?

You have commented before that there is not much to say about your writing process, but I find posts such as these most interesting.

Thanks, and I look forward to reading The Departure if it is ever released here.

Martin Sommerfeld said...

I agree with bhenry, so far you had obviously no problem finding stuff to write in your "Writing Update" that does in fact interest me. So if you keep em coming, I will be reading them with pleasure. :-)

Neal Asher said...

bhhenry, was it you who commented on this before? I don't know why but it was a habit I'd fallen into and which I've since corrected (though not in The Departure). It's also a perfect demonstration of why, in writing, you must never think you have nothing more to learn.

Yes, Martin, I will do more about this sort of stuff. I've come to the conclusion that I should concentrate more here on what I'm doing rather than use it as a rant platform (but I guess that's one I've said before).

bhhenry said...

It wasn't me, but I think I found the comment, "Every time a 'whilst' is used, somewhere a kitten is drowned." If only I had such a gift for subtlety ... Seems there must be a bit more to this story anyhow.

Neal Asher said...

Ah, it may be that the 'whilsts' will be be departing The Departure in its paperback form.

osh said...


Please don't stop you ranting completely, I find them as entertaining and informative as your writing posts.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

as far as that goes...your bloodlust sometimes has made me roll my eyes.

let me just say if Quadaffi, Hussein, & Bin Laden were not killed, they would have a lot to say on the people harassing them, ultimately killing them. the US sells arms to everyone, all the time for oil/fortunes. there's a reason we need them dead, you dont need to trade for the goods anymore. international bank accts are inherited by the killers.

destroy a country, create more security jobs.

Neal Asher said...

osh, I think part of my feeling that I should rant less has more to do with me feeling that I should be reading more science and less of the stuff that feeds my rant organ.

Vaude, your post makes me wonder if I should occasionally insert some 'open threads' on this blog so people can go on about whatever they like.