Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

Oh, the first look at a first draft.

And then the work begins.

For me, before anything else happens, the finished novel has to go from bytes to book.  I typically send the manuscript (set up for reading - my writing setup is a whole different story, but isn't conducive to reading on a page) to Kinkos for printing and binding.  When I was younger and (relatively) flush, I went for more expensive options.  Now I tend to conserve a bit:  a few hundred pages of printing costs is quite pricy enough.

There's nothing quite like holding the book in my hands, even if it isn't anywhere close to a final form.

Next, the readthrough.  This is to get a big picture view of what's on the page - not what I think is on the page.  I try not to make any editing notes at this point, though I might jot down something that stands out ... or in the case of Scylla and Charybdis, I created an outline of the scenes and their purpose.  I ended up deciding everything needed to be there, unfortunately for the final length of that one.

Then, the markup.  I start reading again with pen in hand, marking omissions, tweaks, question marks - there are always a couple places in a manuscript where I simply end up writing "Huh?" - wording that needs to change ... all the good stuff.

Then, the actual input.  Now, for those of you who don't know, I hate handwriting.  Hate hate hate it.  Extended handwriting is physically painful for me.  (I actually have an ocular motor dysfunction - the "bridge" between my eyes and hands is out - and learning to handwrite was a struggle for me.  I ended up coming up with my own method of holding a pen/pencil that tends to make people stare.  Which is why I panicked when my pastry instructor told us to hold a pastry bag "like we hold a pencil" ... but I digress.)

So the upshot of this tale of woe is that my handwritten notes tend to be very sparse, and sometimes when I come back to them, I'll have no idea what I meant in the first place.  At first, I used to think this was a problem with my process.  I came to realize it was a feature.  (Like any good bug:  maybe I should have been a programmer.)  Having to translate myself causes to consider the issue a second time.  Maybe I decide to do something different; maybe I decide the change wasn't needed after all.  I tend to refer to this process as "1.5 editing passes."

And then the work begins ...

No comments: