Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fuzzy Pictures.

So this week has been an experiment at writing at home. Largely, this is a bad idea. Mostly because my house is my work. And if I teach, live, and write at home, then I turn around and it's been FIVE DAYS since I've been out of the house.

Not the most brilliant of ideas for my mental state, but it sure saves on gas!

The experiment is interesting. On the first floor, it's ALL my studio, waiting room, and kitchen. It's another business, LOL, with nowhere to sit but at the piano. :-) Second floor: A bedroom and DH's office (scary place!).

All of which leave me two choices: to try to get work done at my studio computer, where I have the internet, blogging, and tons of email reminders of studio work I need to do. (You see, two blog posts today, LOL.)

Or, my bedroom. The only furniture: my bed.

Since I refuse to take my laptop into my bed, I printed out my current WIP. {gasp!}  Do you have any idea how many pieces of paper 40,000 words is? I wasn't thinking!

It's kind of cool to look at it on paper, though, in print. I mostly printed it out because I heard myself say that I never print things out. (When I hear myself say never, I try to do it immediately.)

Still, have you ever looked at something you've written, and been astonished to see that it's actually a story? It never ceases to amaze me.

During the writing of something, it becomes a huge mess in my mind, a big blob, where I'm constantly struggling to keep the big picture flow coherent, while writing the little bits.

The big picture is SO fuzzy. I have such a hard time holding it all in my head, holding the flow in my head, so I endlessly have to make my mind a blank and read from the beginning.

Reading it in print did help the "clean slate" brain a bit.

Do you ever print out your WIP? Do you struggle with holding it all in your head? Or ... how do you hold it all in your head? Are you ever astonished to find that a coherent story emerged from the fuzzy big picture? Or am I just prone to fuzzy thinking, LOL?

PS: And guess what? The historical winner has been announced, and now BookEnds is doing the thriller/suspense contest! I'm very interested in learning from all the entries.

17 bonus scribbles:

Ello 3/19/2008 06:20:00 PM  

I printed out my manuscript and it was such a huge pile of paper I felt ill from the waste of trees! Isn't that an odd reaction?

Oh and I have had many weekends where I come home Friday and do not step foot out until Monday morning - and that very reluctantly!

Stewart Sternberg 3/19/2008 06:39:00 PM  

Ah, spy, I think that people should be able to produce in any setting any time. But then I also think monkeys fly out know.

Just stopping by. The school year is winding down and I can once again free up time to surf a bit. So much porn, so little time.

Good writing to you.

spyscribbler 3/19/2008 07:53:00 PM  

Ello, that's it exactly! Ohmigosh, I just looked at that HUGE pile of paper and was stunned. And yes, a little sick! I started adding up how much money I'd spent to print it out, LOL!

Stewart, I kinda agree. I can and have produced at home. But I must. get. out. of. the. house.

At least once a day. Or I go crazy.

So I'm thinking the gas budget is not where I'll be making drastic cuts. :-)

I was wondering where you were, by the way. Just last night, I was thinking I'd better check in case my feed reader was malfunctioning. :-)

Anissa 3/19/2008 08:08:00 PM  

I like to edit in hard copy. I think it clicks something in my brain that helps me see all the problems I missed on the screen.

I agree with you that seeing the entire document sitting in a stack is daunting. I'm currently working through 300 pages.

And yes, holding it all in my head is virtually impossible. I'm constantly reading things that surprise me. LOL!

Travis Erwin 3/19/2008 08:19:00 PM  

Yes, I print my stuff out regularly. When i get serious about edits I do them on hard copy.

And if you think 40,00 words is bad you should have seen my 125,000 word second novel.

Edie 3/19/2008 11:36:00 PM  

I do my last edit on hard copy -- and I'm astonished how many errors I can find. After I fix those, I sometimes need one more hard copy edit. And I use the backs of paper, so it's not that much of a waste.

A lot of writers go to coffee shops, like Starbucks, to write. Maybe there's something like that near your house.

Michele 3/20/2008 12:23:00 AM  

I edit as much as I can on the screen, then I print it out and edit and find a whole BUNCH of cr** I totally didn't see before! LOL

Amazing. ::shaking head::

lainey bancroft 3/20/2008 08:18:00 AM  

I don't print often because I'm--hmm, let's say frugal, sounds better than cheap--but I do find if I change the font, the size, sometimes even the color, it is like looking at a different animal and boo-boos leap out easier.

Aimless Writer 3/20/2008 08:24:00 AM  

I print it out in pieces until the final draft. Then the whole thing has to be printed so I can read it out loud. But then, no matter how much revising it needs, I keep all the copies. I have tubs of stuff I've printed. Why do I do this?

Its funny how our greatests works fall apart when we read them out loud. lol

StarvingWriteNow 3/20/2008 09:27:00 AM  

I totally hear you--when I write on the computer I can't see it all at a glance, can't touch it... and it is truly a big glob of mush in my head. Printing out even a scene makes things clear up immensely. Cool post!

Josephine Damian 3/20/2008 12:56:00 PM  

You definitely miss typos/errors/repeated words if you only read it on the screen.

I print out short stories once they're done to fine tune/edit. It's usually not until I'm several chapters into a WIP that I print it out. When there's only a few pages dones, it's kinda pitful looking at how puny that pile of papers is knowing how much further you have to go till the end.

I see you're working out a new writing space at home. I have seperate rooms/computers for Internet and writing now. Ne'er the twain shall meet.

Saw you entered the thriller contest. Nice opener! Good luck!

spyscribbler 3/20/2008 02:05:00 PM  

Anissa, it is a luxury. There's something about seeing it in hard copy that makes it look better, LOL. And it's easier on the eyes, for sure!

Travis, I shudder to think of it! I really do!

Edie, I did see some new things. They were few and far between on the chapters I'd polished, so I'm thinking I would have gotten them in the final polish. One can never tell, though!

I usually write at Borders. This was a failed experiment in saving on gas, LOL. :-)

spyscribbler 3/20/2008 02:13:00 PM  

LOL, Michele! I found editing on hard copy made it so much easier for me to take it into the bathtub, take it into the bedroom, and just get it done while I wasn't "officially" writing.

Lainey, I don't think I'll be printing it out again. I felt guilty the whole time I was doing it. But if I ever got a huge advance, I'd probably print my stuff out all the time!

Aimless, wow! I'm going to save mine, and probably print out the rest, so DH can read it when he gets home. But I've never even ordered my own work. I think I gave all my copies of Perfectly Plum away, too.

Writenow, there is definitely that! This is true! I can refocus on the screen, but it takes coffee, yelling at myself, and forcing myself to focus. On paper, it's easier.

Thanks, Josephine! As soon as I hit send, I already saw two words I'm just dying to change. And, wow, the entries are fabulous. There are at least six that have that "wow" feel! I really like this contest.

Angie 3/20/2008 05:34:00 PM  

I haven't printed out one of my stories in... [squint/ponder] almost ten years? Something like that. Back when I was doing snail-mail submissions to magazines. And those were short stories, so the longest would've been like twenty pages or so.

For myself? Never. I edit on the screen and am comfortable doing so -- in fact I prefer it. I've been a computer person since the mid-eighties and find it much easier to work with text that'll move around when I tell it to. :)


spyscribbler 3/20/2008 05:57:00 PM  

LOL, Angie! I love the way you put that. I seriously question whether I would have been a writer in the typewriter days, simply because of that.

Angie 3/20/2008 06:50:00 PM  

Seriously, though, can you imagine...? I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was a very young teenager, and that meant typewriters. It was understood that you could do whatever you wanted with your drafts -- and I had scribbled notes and taped on stuff and inserted pages numbered 15A, 15B, 15C, etc. -- but what you submitted had to be retyped -- fresh ribbon! -- and hopefully you wouldn't get any great inspirations halfway through your to-be-submitted final. :P

I heart my word processor and have absolutely no desire to go back to paper and typewriters. [shudder]


Bernita 3/21/2008 07:55:00 AM  

Yep, I print out at times.
(I have this horror that my computer will die and it will all be lost, lost)
Also I find it an editing double check.