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  • Writer's pictureBill


Neither at chess nor at novel-writing, do I enjoy (nor am I good at) the endgame. You can’t count drafts anymore in the computer age, because of the tendency to do batch deletes of the hundreds of prior files of the poor novel. Next time I’ll outline rigorously to avoid so much re-revisions, I promise. Even after handfuls of developmental edits, thoughtful beta readers, and at least two each of professional line edits and proof reads. I’m still going through it line by line, and finding, not inelegant sentences (haven’t even gone there yet), just plain old mistakes. Granted this is my first novel, but still! Since these posts are supposed to document the creation of a new novel, I attach a screen shot of part of one of the many proof sheets I'm still generating for the publisher.

And then there’s the back cover book description that’s supposed to encourage shoppers to buy the damn novel. Since I posted an earlier version oh so many weeks ago, it’s undergone more rewrites than the novel. I supply the back cover description as it currently stands. Go ahead. Hack at it. You know you want to, Be a bully:

It’s 1984, and Sophia Shulder’s scientific career is on the fast track… until she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Only when all her prenatal tests come back “within normal limits” does she start looking forward to motherhood.

But the day after the baby is born, she and her husband Martin are shocked to learn that their baby has Down syndrome….and deformities. Life-saving surgery, though risky, is needed urgently. Under pressure to sign the consent for surgery, Sophia perseverates. Is surgery really best for the baby, and for herself? The hospital, threatened by the Reagan administration's new "Baby Doe" laws, initiates legal proceedings to take custody of the baby from Sophia.

Is a baby’s death ever preferable to life? H. William Taeusch is a professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco. He’s worked in NICUs in Montreal, Boston, and Los Angeles for more than thirty years, and his short stories have appeared in Manhattan Literary Review, Southern Indiana Review, Gold Man Review, and elsewhere.

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