09 May 2008


The process of revising the first draft of my book Turning Words has been surprising in many ways. I now have six chapters online from each ‘side’ of the book; the sixth, uploaded this week, had to be almost totally rewritten, which took over two months. It's about ‘revelation’, with special reference to the Gospel of Thomas, and my take on both has been developing and deepening over the 5 years or so since the first draft was completed.

All this effort on the book would make no sense if i didn't believe the outcome to be as true, clear and concise as i can make it. In these days of information overload, adding another 300 pages or so to the millions spewed forth every day is not something i take lightly. However, as you know if you've ever tried it, intense concentration on a text tends to make its rough spots invisible to the writer. That's why i'm placing the chapters online as i finish each one in this round of revision—hoping that a reader or two can respond to it, and thus give me a few clues that might help to carry the process further. It does make some demands on the reader's attention. That's intentional—i think it's important to push the envelope of language a little—but how can you tell in advance whether it will be worth the effort? You can't be sure, but you should be able to guess well enough by the end of Chapter 1, if you follow it closely enough to catch the clues. Anyway, if i didn't think it was already worth a reader's while, i wouldn't be doing any of this. In fact, i'm pretty sure that the current draft of this book has been more carefully thought and written out than many published books. I suppose that makes me a ‘perfectionist’ … Well, nobody's perfect!

A few prospective readers have told me that they need a printed text, since it's too much of a strain to read from a screen. If so, you should be able to print it with your browser, but you may need to make some adjustments before printing in order to reduce the amount of paper you use. (No chapter in this book should take more than 20 pages to print—or 10 if you print on both sides.) First, you can reduce the text size with your browser settings (since i have deliberately refrained from specifying the text size in my HTML coding). Second, you should probably set the side margins at zero in your print settings, because this text has margins ‘built in’ (to make it more presentable on the screen). If you still have trouble printing a chapter, you can always e-mail me for help: gnox -at- xplornet (dot) com. By the way, i still haven't decided whether conventional printing is the way this book should be published after it's finished—which may take a couple more years …

Meanwhile, most of what i need to say these days seems to need the context of the book in order to make adequate sense; so this blog's been pretty quiet. But perhaps this too will change, now that i'm liberated from Chapter 6! We shall see.

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