Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adventures in Novel Writing

Welcome to Adventures in Novel Writing. Yesterday, I finished my third draft. For the fourth draft, I like to print it out and read through the pages looking for mistakes, as well as getting a feel for how the readers will see the finished work. Rather than correcting as I go, as I have done in the previous drafts, I work with pencil in hand and only correct the pages I’ve marked after I reach the end. With it printed  single sided, double spaced, the manuscript is pretty thick. So I set to work to print it out, knowing that it would take a while.


Twenty pages into the document, I ran into a snag. My printer died with a nasty error. “Wrong Cartridge,” it said, but it hardly matters what the error, my printer couldn’t fix it—not in short order, perhaps not at all. I began to consider my options. I have another printer, but it is designed for portability, not for printing large documents. Twenty sheets of paper is about the limit of its paper feeding ability and the ink cartridges are similarly small, so I decided I’d rather not use it. I began to look at printers, thinking I might go to the story and pick up one I liked, but I quickly saw a couple of problems with that. First, the printers that caught my eye aren’t the kind of printers most stores keep in stock. Even if I ordered one, it would be a few days before it got here. Secondly, what was I going to do with the 35 lb. paperweight sitting next to my computer. If it worked, I could sell it and get a little money from it, but with it not working, I’m not sure where I can dump it. It could be that all it needs is a new print head—expensive, yes, but much less than the printers I was looking at. So, I decided I’d try to fix it, but that didn’t solve my problem. How was I going to print 334 pages of my manuscript?

I turned to Kinkos, or Fed-Ex Office, as they are called now. I uploaded my manuscript and for about $50, they would print it and put it in a binder. That’s probably about twice what I would have paid if I had printed the thing at home, but considering I don’t currently have the capability to print it at home, it seemed like the best option. They were supposed to have it done by 10 this morning, but when I arrived at the store a little after 10, they hadn’t even started. They scurried around and found my order. For some reason, it had been placed on hold. I stood there and waited for several minutes as they printed it on their big machine. It didn’t bother me that much. I wasn’t in a hurry to be somewhere anyway, but when they were almost done, the manager or the owner or whatever he is came over to me and told me that he wasn’t going to charge me for it. I told him he didn’t have to do that, but he insisted and I wasn’t about to refuse a second time. So, I walked out of the store with my manuscript bound in a three inch binder and it didn’t cost me one red cent.


Please come back again when we have another episode of Adventures in Novel Writing.