The Editing Process

I just finished another long edit of the manuscript. (Actually, I probably went over it 3 or more times during this last editing phase, and it had already been through many micro-edits already.) I printed out this newest draft and it's fun to see it on paper. The manifestation of months of hard work. There's nothing like seeing a huge manuscript and thinking, "I guess I did that." It grew by 3,000-4,000 words since the last draft, bringing the total to 43,000 words plus. It's more than twice the length of an average Diary of a Wimpy Kid. With self-publishing, I suppose I don't have to worry so much about whether or not I have the most "commercial" length, but I try to consider everything because I do not know what will happen to it in the future. There is a good chance I will make it available for print-on-demand.

I think the changes are all positive. I added a few paragraphs on the rogue planets, and exoplanets in general, because I thought they were too cool to leave out, and added in a paragraph (and extra cartoon) about Pluto's ice hockey playing. And even though I probably didn't need to, I also added a gag about Eris' first-place winnings and all the weird awards he acquired to prove himself.

The part about the ice hockey, although short, was a fairly important addition because I am hoping to show that there are other areas of life and language use that mirror what happened with the redefining of "planet." In the story, Pluto mentions how important ice hockey is in Kuiper Belt culture and how non- Kuiper Belt residents simply couldn't relate. In the cartoon, Pluto excitedly comes in to the Planet Club Lounge, in full ice hockey gear, to tell Mercury and Venus all about the big game he's just enjoyed in the Kuiper Belt. Mercury and Venus, first-zoners who live in unbearable heat, can't relate to a game played in subzero temperatures or understand the ice hockey jargon he throws at them a mile a minute.

Could Pluto be just a little bit like THE STARGAZERS themselves? The ONES who so ruined his life with THEIR inventing and re-inventing of words? The jargon that sport enthusiasts use is not much different than the sometimes comically precise terms of the IAU. In fact, many groups create special language for discussing their passion and teasing out subtle differences among terms. So, we could conclude that THE STARGAZERS aren't the only ones who make up words and make a big deal about their "correct" use. They're also not the first ones to view others as outsiders who don't have a right to "interfere."

This isn't to say that THE STARGAZERS shouldn't have made more of an effort to let the outsiders (in this case, non-scientists) participate in the classification of Pluto, but it goes to show that what they did is an aspect of life and language use most of us can relate to if we're being honest. I hope this helps give balance to the perspective in the book. The STARGAZERs, as a group, are the butt of a lot of the cartoon jokes, but there's plenty of absurdity to go around in the true story of what happened to Pluto.

Another really important thing I did was beef up the sections where Pluto philosophized over what he thinks about the whole situation and what he's learned over time about it. Hopefully these parts are now stronger, a bit more cleverly written, and represent a more consistent viewpoint.

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