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Landmark of Sorts

August 5, 2006
Posted at 1:40 am

As I was uploading William Redman Carter Chapter 46, I realized that this chapter put me at over 11.5MB of text on SOL. Somehow I missed noticing when I went over the 10MB point. I don't know if this landmark means that I'm prolific, but it is a lot of text.

That got me to thinking about other things associated with writing. Assuming an average of 6 characters per word and 10 words per sentence, that means that I've written almost 200,000 sentences. I figure that is a lot of story telling.

I get a lot of e-mail pointing out errors in my text. By errors, I mean a wrong word here or there. A typo creeps in. I use the wrong name for a character. Sometimes I might have minor inconsistencies in timeline. Writing feed and water when the proper order is water and feed. It is also common for me to substitute homonyms for the right word. There are a lot of ways that a mistake can enter a story. I don't mind that readers point out errors to me and usually I will go back to correct the error. The fact is that I'm not a professional author, my editor is a volunteer, and there is not an entire staff on hand to produce publication quality work. I do this as a hobby.

I figure that with a 1% error rate, that I would have approximately 2000 errors in the text that I've generated. I don't know if 1% is high or low, but I figure that is probably about right for the average amateur publication. With 435 chapters now posted, that is about 5 errors per chapter. I can live with that, particularly since there aren't lives depending on it. It is possible that my error rate is about 1.5%. That would mean between 7 and 8 errors per chapter. It has gone down since Drahkan started editing them for me.

In measuring typing speed, they use a measure of 5 characters per word. I haven't measured my typing speed lately, but I imagine it is around 100 words per minute although when I'm writing it is probably around 25 words per minute. A real rough calculation is that I've spent around 1500 hours writing the material that I've posted on SOL. Throw in editing and other activities associated with keeping that much text together, I figure that we can add another 1000 hours or so.

I'm not even going to try to guess the time that is spent in research, most of which never appears in a story. For example, I read the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran while writing Oscar Meyers. I studied satellite imagery and photographs of Afghanistan for about eight chapters of the book. For Ed Biggers, I read three books on mineralogy and two on geology.

I started writing near the end of 2003. That means that between 10 to 15 hours a week is spent typing up the stories. In three years, I've created:
- The John Carter Universe (13 stories)
- The Damsels in Distress Universe (4 stories so far)
- Glen Wiseman
- Thunder and Lightening
- A Different Sort of Lifestyle
- Several Short Stories (1 which was posted on SOL)
I like to think that each group is a different kind of story that isn't rehashing the same old ideas. I've tried to keep the story lines fresh.

One other stray thought came to me while I was uploading that chapter. In particular, I took a moment to appreciate that SOL makes it very easy for me to post my stories and have them presented in a nice manner. As I said, this is a hobby. I have a full time job with deadlines that often require me to work 12 to 16 hours a day including weekends.

SOL has saved me about a half an hour of work per chapter. Back when I was trying to maintain a website of my stories, it took about a half an hour per chapter to update the webpage and to upload the chapter. It may not sound like much, but it would have taken away from me the time that it took to write about half of the Happy Harry stories. I really appreciate all of the effort that Lazeez has put into making SOL very author friendly. I'm also an avid reader and am currently tracking 151 serials. As a reader, I really appreciate the fact that SOL tracks stories for me.