Monday, March 10, 2014


The other day I completed the last chapter of the first draft of Tracking the Beast, the working title of my fifth Steve Martinez novel. The whole comes in at 63,500 words, just 1,500 short of the minimum 65,000 words most publishers require of mystery novels. The second draft, if all goes well, should reach 70,000 words handily.

But there is a problem for aging novelists: the accuracy of memory. In reading over the first draft, I discovered two instances of in which an important passage or statement was repeated. In each, the second instance was not exactly a word-for-word repetition of the first, but close enough for it to be embarrassing if it were ever discovered.

Probably a conscientious copy editor would catch this sort of thing, but there is a good reason a writer always accepts responsibility for whatever errors manage to slip through into print: I wrote the thing and the mistake is mine.

Getting old, they say, isn't for sissies. Or the careless.

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