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Step one – open shitty first draft.
Step two – print out in word draft mode, light colored ink.
Step three – put on extra strong glasses and bright lamp. Rewrite every single page until it looks like it’s bleeding. Be aware that you might need a lot of physical space for laying out the pages. Clothespins are key. So are Post-It notes.
Step five – type in handwritten edits.
Step six – go back to step 2 and do it all again.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Barkis is not too subtle when he wants to go for a walk….
The secret? See below:
My name is Susan and I’m a WordPerfect addict. It’s every bit as essential as my Clairefontaine notebooks and Shaefer Javelin fountain pen (peacock blue ink, please). WordPerfect is not perfect, but for writing a novel, it’s close.
And then there’s Word. The industry standard. Do not ask me why. The first time I saw “Clippie,” I thought I was hallucinating. C’mon, Clippie? Am I not enraged enough by the program itself?
But let’s be fair. Word has one huge virtue. I love the way it prints out a draft. A draft, I am forced to tell you, I created in WordPerfect. Word is too stupid to open it, so while In WordPerfect, I click “Save As” and select some version of MS Word.
(Side note–My nomination for dumbest upgrade ever? When New Word refused to recognize Old Word, thus creating the doc to docx confusion.)
But back to the draft. My early drafts are riddled with side notes or comments, the little hidden things that say “this is dreck–revise later” or “sheer genius,” (rare) or “then, a miracle occurred…” They also contain research material, continuity notes, deleted sentences I’m not ready to let go of, questions to ponder, you name it.
When you print out the draft in Word, it automatically prints those side notes oin a nice little column on the side. If a note is long, it continues it at the end of the document.
I love this feature! But I hate everything else about Word.
Are there Word-defenders out there? What do your drafts look like?
No, really, he did. There’s something about those little copy edit flags he can’t resist. (A copy edit is an almost-final once-over on the manuscript. The copy editor indicates her comments and queries with sticky flags that say things like “she walked through the door 3x on this pg.” or “this is the 13th month of her pregnancy.” Somehow, the CE resists adding, “moron.”)
So here’s why writers don’t get cocky no matter how well their books are selling. The actual work of writing never changes. This is Lakeshore Christmas. Or it will be if I get my revisions done and make my deadline. After I sent this baby off to my publisher, my editor and copy editor had their way with it, and suddenly the baby is ugly all over again. The blue tabs at the tops of the pages are the revisions I’ve accomplished so far. The ones down the side are sections I still need to rewrite. By next week.
Oh, and yes indeed, that is fresh snow you see in the background out the window. Thanks for asking!
It’s Groundhog Day, when we find out whether or not winter will ever end. It’s also the title of one of my favorite movies. Any writer can relate to the concept of doing something over and over again, until you finally get it right. Or at least close enough to right to declare in publishable.
So here’s what I was doing just before the phone rang:
…and here’s what I did the rest of the day.
I did a salsa dance, too, but no way I’m showing you the photo.