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26 Apr 2012

Nomads word-count (200,000) and structure

This has been a hard-working and, for me, quite exciting period of work on the Nomads typescript. During the past month the structure of the work has become clear; I've glimpsed what is emerging as the final pagination; and I've done a word-count on the 90% of the typescript that's been completed to date. And therein lies the snag: the count is currently 203,000 words, give or take - and that's bigger than my PhD thesis (1988, in two volumes). To keep the work within reasonable limits, so that the text will make a single-volume, illustrated book, I'm going to have to cut around 40,000 words from the existing typescript. That pruning will in turn make space for Ken's chapter on sea-trout biology and for the work on Northern Ireland to be done during the coming summer. Nothing will be lost, I hope: I'll put some of the edited material onto the book's website (and onto this Nomads site) as an extra goodie. And yet cutting words at this stage, however necessary, always feels a bit like discarding one's own children (or labrador puppies).

I've not yet begun the big penultimate edit, but my guess is that I'll cut some stuff from the Preface, from parts of the Gazetteer (e.g. the entry on the Nore is looking  vulnerable....although I'm very loath to dump the specimen dace I caught there last summer....Let us not forget the humble dace....), and from the front end of Casting at Time. I'll also prune the Factfiles that accompany each Gazetteer entry: there's no point, for instance, including ticket prices, because those will be outdated even before the book's published.

I've worked throughout from notebooks (four small pocket-sized one, which I take on every trip and write up each evening - see image above). The notebook entries have been supplemented by angling diary entries reaching back to 1973, correspondence, interviews and other materials, so the text is, I hope, attractively varied. And of course we have several thousand images...which themselves must be pruned to a couple of hundred.

Apologies to all those who expect to see accounts of the capture and release of gigantic Irish sea-trout in these pages. The coming few months are going to include plenty of Irish fishing, yes - three separate trips in July and August - but the main event is the final preparation of the typescript.