Progress and praise
Writing a book is like having a baby. There is never a convenient time to do it. It's much more work than you remember from last time. And it usually takes longer than you thought it would.
Before Thanksgiving, I sent the completed manuscript for Reaching the Animal Mind to my editors at Scribner (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. in New York). It was 400+ pages, 20 chapters, 120,000 words, and two years' work. When my editors finished going through the manuscript, they asked me to come talk about it. I went down to New York and met with them all day.
They loved everything in the book, every single story!
"Oh! The hermit crab!"
"Oh, I loved the rhinoceros games!"
"No, the surfing ponies are my favorite!"
My editors agreed with me on two vital points: the neuroscience chapter is the climax of the book, and the TAG chapter is the grand finale. But they recognized all of the problems I encountered trying to organize nearly 50 years of experience and observations. And, they had brilliant suggestions (i.e. instructions) for a new way of organizing the main body of the text—and I agreed with all of them.
Reorganizing is much easier than writing brand-new stuff. Still, I came home with probably four months worth of revision work. I will start digging into that right after ClickerExpo in Kentucky.
The new publication date for Reaching the Animal Mind is Winter/Spring 2008-2009. We'll know more when the revisions are done.
The revision plan called for the removal of approximately five chapters about my life as a maverick scientist, information that no longer seems necessary given the new structure of the book. Oh well, okay. Writers are used to just shelving piles of typescript—maybe my grandchildren will enjoy it.
But guess what else my New York editors saw? "Ahem, Karen," my senior editor, Beth Wareham, said. "There's another book in this, about fighting upstream to make your own career in science. I think it would be especially interesting to other women and girls. When this book is done, would you like to write that one? You have a great start already," she said, waving at the five excised chapters.
And here I had said that when this AWFUL, difficult job was done I would NEVER write another book. But I said...