Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hard Copy

I write longhand, and I often catch a lot of slack for it. I know it's much slower than typing, and I lose time when I have to convert all those pen-and-ink pages into typed files.

But I love the feel of notebook paper that's been scratched and stained, so I do it anyway.

That old-school tendency has led me to print off my manuscript and keep it in a three-ring binder. This has also caught me some slack because that binder will probably be 7 inches thick and not at all practical for carrying around.

But I love being able to see what I've accomplished. It motivates me to keep going. And it really paid off yesterday.

My husband has started to read my book. He came into the office and said, "I finished chapter 2, but chapter 3 doesn't make sense. I don't know how I got from where I was to where I am. Did you change ideas and not change your work?"

That sounds a lot like me. Despite being an avid outliner, sometimes things change in my head as I'm writing. And rather than go back and make the changes, I just start the next paragraph with the changes and keep going. Example: If I were writing a different book, I might put my characters in a convertible, but if halfway through the scene I decide to have an off-road chase, I just change the car into a Jeep. But I won't go back and fix that convertible bit. It can make things confusing.

So when he asked if I changed anything, I shrugged my shoulders, "Maybe." And then I checked the file. Turns out, I was missing three pages and two scenes. Some computer digging turned up a page and a half, but the rest of the digital files were no where to be found.

So I turned to my binder. And there it was, Chapter 2, completed as I wrote it. Sure, I had to re-type what had gone missing from my computer. But thanks to my old-school blood, those pages weren't really lost after all.

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