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More Writers Math

March 6, 2012

The math I am doing tonight is a little trickier, a little more advanced than the basic writers math involved in “how long will it take” problems: For example, there is really only one answer to “If Author A takes one hour per page to revise her book and her manuscript is 403 pages long, how long will it take for her to finish?” And there is really only one answer to “How long will it take Author B to finish his book if it takes him two minutes per page to revise his 1000 page manuscript?” Even variations on this theme are comparatively easy: “Which author will finish first, A or B?” Again, there is only one correct answer. Even if you add headwinds, as in “How long will it take Author A to finish revising her book if it takes her one hour per page and there are 10 miles an hour headwinds, as in her son gets a five day bout of strep throat or the left wheel bearing of her stupid subaru falls off?”

No, the math I am doing tonight reminds me of geometry. There are theorems, I think. For example, here is one I just discovered: any chapter that has pages removed from it will get shorter. This may seems obvious, as many such theorems do. But what seems less obvious and in fact vaguely mystical is where do these two removed pages go? Which brings us to another theorem. Any chapter that has pages added to it will get longer. Hence, if you take the two pages you removed from one chapter, thereby shortening that chapter, and add those two pages to another chapter, it will get longer. But what if a third chapter is involved? What if you add one page to a chapter Other than the second chapter? Or what if you add a paragraph from those original two pages to one chapter, a page to another chapter, and a page and a half to another? Do you see how easy it is to lose track?

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