Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Best Part of Writing... and it's not the Homicides.

So, the here's the best part about writing. At least for me. Every so often you have a need to print your whole entire manuscript out, and I don't know what it is about seeing the book printed on actual paper, but I get all tingly inside, as if I just saw Rafa on a changeover where he has to switch shirts.

Whoa. Where was I?

Oh yeah. My book.

Maybe it's because in high school, I had to write a 5,000 word paper, and the assignment seemed very much the opposite of surmountable. Every word felt like it took enough energy that I could've more easily created new worlds, or squeezed a piece of coal with my pinky finger to produce a diamond. And I'd use phrases like "opposite of surmountable" instead of "insurmountable" because three words are better than one.

It would've been easier if the teacher had said, "Okay, for every word you add, someone, somewhere in the world will die." At least then I could've decreased the surplus population and been visited by three ghosts who would outline all the mistakes I'd made.

Needless to say, I titled the paper, "Eight-nine reasons why Jane Austen is so very very very very very cool, which is the opposite of lame." (Yeah, titles count toward the final word total)

So when I see this:

I can't help thinking, "Holy Crap. I did that. Voluntarily. Nobody died. And it's more than 5,000 words. So much more. Like 65,00 words. "

Then I have to force myself to stop thinking about it, because inevitably I'll start telling people I deserve a medal for this stack of paper with ink on it, or at least choirs of angels should be singing. I even caught Sam marveling at my work, and I captured it on video below. Watch how he lovingly thumbs through my pages:

And then he came at me with a baseball bat. I have no idea why, but I had the strangest urge to chase him, all the while yelling, "Here's Johnny!" 

Okay, I'm off to cuddle with my manuscript. He just told me he's tired, so I'm going to tuck him in a fluffy quilt and sing him to sleep. 

Am I the only one who feels this way?

P.S. Several trees were killed in the making of this blog post.


  1. Yay! I'm #1 again! :D

    What a lovely stack of paper! I couldn't quite read it, though, so if you'd take the picture again with better focus... rotate a bit... perhaps a close-up on the first-page-after-the-title-page (hyphens make multiple words in to one word).... Paper and ink aren't as exciting as the meaning of the words. Share! :)

    Is this your first or your second book? For the enlightenment of us utter writing newbies, why do you need to print it out at all? Can't everything be electronic until the publisher slaps a cover on it?

  2. I printed out my manuscript a few weeks ago and carried it around with me. I felt like saying, "Let me introduce you to my baby. You think she looks like me? Why, thank you!"

    And your book looks fascinating. I can't wait to discover why all that work and no play made Jack so dull.

  3. Yes...can you get a better shot of the pages so some of us can get the sneak peek?

    Oh, and what happens to Jack?!?

    P.S. My verifcation word is: touroc I thought the OC was canceled?!?

  4. Printing out your book gives you yay-me cred, don't you think? It's one thing to see the word count and page numbers on the screen, but when you've got a big ol' stack in front of you, it's all tangible evidence of what you've been doing all day for the last year or however long it took you. That's right, I didn't watch soap operas (any more than absolutely necessary). See? Here's proof! Take that!

  5. I can only imagine how good you must feel to see your manuscript printed. That tingly feeling you described had to be an understatement. ;)

  6. Robin- Yay for being #1! This is my second book, and for this one I'm actually looking for a different agent. Some agents require a hard copy of the manuscript because it's easier to read. So it gives me an excuse to print the entire thing out, take some pictures for my hope chest, and post it off.

    Thanks for sounding like you'd actually want to read it!

    Melanie- ha ha! That's exactly how I feel. Especially when I"m at the post office, and I'm all, "Do you have bubble wrap? and please handle this with clean hands. Wouldn't want to smudge it... Hey! Did you just wrinkle that title page?"

    Una- Jack dies at the end.

    Kaylie- Exactly! You can raise it up, and say, "Behold, folks, in my hands I hold that obscure concept known as 'colossal waste of time'. I can even bend it. See?"

    Hmmm. That sounds like the pessimist in me.

  7. Jenni- Have you ever seen Rafa take his shirt off? That, my friend, was no understatement.

  8. Not hard to sound like I want to read it when I REALLY DO WANT TO READ IT!

    Brodi, I come to your blog 3x/week to read about your husband eating bake-sale cookies. Why wouldn't I want to read something you've put so much more effort into?

    Just the first page? Please??!! I let you read mine! :)

  9. Brodi - when do we, your loyal blog followers, get a snippet??

    Oh poor Jack! Did the boat sink too?!?

  10. Printing it out is a cool feeling, but for me it's usually followed by a sick feeling of dread as I realize how much of it needs to be fixed.

    I also want to read this. Especially after reading the beginning twice.

    A new agent? Can we ask why?

  11. Robin- I posted the first page a little while ago:

    but I guess I've changed it a bit since then. So I'll post a new first page on Friday. Thanks for being interested!

    Una- Yes, the Love Boat sank too. Jack was impaled by the anchor. It was not pretty.

    Jenilyn- Aren't you glad I'm not forcing you to read the beginning a third time?

    How is your own book coming?

    As for the agent, I loved mine, but I felt it was time for a change with this book.

  12. I love that big stack of novel too! Now if I could only find a printer that didn't make me want to commit violent crimes before getting the whole bleeping thing printed out...

  13. I recently printed out a copy of my latest manuscript, too, just for the exclamations of awe from my family: "THAT huge thing is your BOOK? You WROTE that much?"

    And next you're too busy to make dinner because you're writing, you get a little more respect. In theory.

    Also, I think printing turns a manuscript into what feels like an actual book.

    And you can say, "yes, I am done. I finished this colossal thing." Especially since pushing the "send" button feels so anti-climatic. It gives a sense of ceremony. I'm needy, so I like that.

  14. Congratulations! That is fantastic. You are my hero (for real). Be proud.

  15. Sydney- I know. Printers! Can't live with them... Someday I'm gonna pony up and pay for a laser printer.

    Elena- It feels so different printing it out, straightening the stack, wrapping it up with a rubber band, then it does pressing "send". Like it's much more official. I feel like Anne of Green Gables, putting it together and tying it up with a piece of rafia. Maybe I'll do that...

    Cam- I'm your hero for printing up the manuscript? Thanks! It doesn't take much to impress you.

  16. Ah, the love. And I'm so glad that Sam was "enraptured" while flipping pages. ;)

  17. Way to go! This post made me this of this lovely quote from Emperor's New Groove.
    "Ohhhh! Feel the power Kronk!"
    "Oh, I can feel it."
    Except the power is from the printed book and not a mislabeled pink potion. Oh, and it doesn't turn people into llamas... am I over explaining this? I think my brain is the opposite of functional right now. :)

  18. Brodi- Yay, now I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's post! Can't wait to read it! Thanks!

  19. L.T. - Sam actually slept with the manuscript last night. It was a little weird.

    Kayla- That's so funny, because I totally said, "Feel the power of the Kronk," and I've never even seen the Emperor's New Groove. Crazy!

    Una- I'm afraid they will disappoint.

  20. I'd gladly kill a few trees to get my hands on your book. Man, I can only imagine how fun that'd be to see your work all together like that.