Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Printed my manuscript

Yesterday I printed out my finished first draft (in econo-print mode, and it still used half of the brand new cartridge). I changed the font and spacing so that it wasn't so BIG (I wrote it in Courier 12 double spaced, so it was about 400-something pages and changed it to Arial or something, 11 pt, 1.5 space - as if that's interesting!) It ended up being 220 pages. I have wrapped the pages in two rubber bands, and as of now it's in the filing cabinet.

Today when I picked it up to move it into the filing cabinet, it had a weight I really hadn't appreciated yesterday. I was like, 'Whoa, dude, I wrote all that. I wrote all this?" So I had to leaf through the corner (I can't fully open a page because of the rubber bands) and of course had to read a snippet; it wasn't atrocious, so there is hope. I covered it with a folder so I wouldn't be so tempted; it's amazing how hard it is, with all these thoughts about improvements floating through my head (most of which I write down in a notebook). But I know I wouldn't fare well through those parts I've read 2, 3, 6 times during the draft.

I had planned on writing a few short stories in the wait between resting and editing this first novel, then starting the second for NaNoWriMo...but I find myself wanting to start another novel NOW. I haven't decided whether a good novelist has to be a good short story writer; most of my past stories have been over 5,000 words; and what I consider my best one has been whittled down to 7,500 - too long for most short story mags.

I'm more fully understanding the relationship a person has with his written words; I can feel myself distancing from them each day, where before I was in the mud of the actual thing. Suppose I'm still crusted with mud and need to get to a good shower before I can go back to it.

For some reason my husband is very interested in what I'm writing right now. I can't help but minimize the window every time I notice him reading; I'm so self-conscious (though I couldn't care less he'll maybe be reading this tomorrow, or a week from now...) It makes me think about the goal of the author, in many cases: to tell something without the recipient knowing they are there. The point of the author is that they are invisible; they have the great power of making themselves somehow not present at the ideal time that the story is digested - that is why it makes me so nervous; I'm sitting right there and I'm supposed to be invisible. You're only supposed to see my voice. (though I admit, as a writer, I frequently picture the authors of the books I read, maybe that's the great thing, that you know another human is behind this solitary activity)

Oh well, mostly just ramblings. I suppose I'm in a state of bliss from really finishing this thing, this "first" novel. There will never be another one, this is it. There might be lots of other "firsts," but not this specific one. And I'm slightly tipsy with cheap Vodka, although I wasn't at the beginning of this post...

One thing that I'm feeling right now about the draft: I need to infuse it with something. It needs something to bring it all together. I haven't figured out what that is yet, but if I do I might be able to save it from the somewhat empty draft it seems to me right now. I followed my goal when I set out, but it was a very simple I think I need to step it up on the rewrite.

It's going to be really hard for me to read through the whole thing without making tons of notes (even with short stories, I overwhelm myself with notes on 1st and 2nd rewrites) , but that is my goal - look for the MAJOR things. I'll just circle typos - what's the point if whole paragraphs or scenes are cut? I've planned on going into it ready to slash half of hopefully that will help and not hinder the process of the first read & rewrite...


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