Thursday, November 19, 2009

Printing a Manuscript

Okay. I've got every post planned through December 14th. So hopefully there will be no more missed days (except for the weekends, because I take those off blogging.) The laptop is supposed to be back by the 14th so I figured I'd plan through then and see where I stood.

Yesterday I printed the first chapter of Destiny. It's one of the coolest things in the world to hold your own manuscript in your hands, even if it's just a fraction of it. But besides the coolness-factor, there are other reasons to print out your manuscript.

1. It's a great way to edit. I don't suggest doing this with a first draft unless you can afford to buy a few cartridges of ink (if you have a printer like mine that sucks up ink faster than a jet sucks up fuel) and a package of paper because a first draft is definitely going to have a lot of things that need to be fixed. Better to fix all those errors and do all those rewrites on the computer and save the printing for a later draft.

2. Hard copy for backing up. Unless you lose the draft, this is one copy that isn't going to disappear when your computer crashes or you don't have access to the internet to reach your back-ups.

Want to print our your manuscript? Here are some tips:

1. Print it out a little at a time. Not only will this help you to spread out your ink and paper usage, but it will also keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by the volume of paper that you have to edit. Print a chapter, edit it, change the electronic copy, and then print out another.

2. Have spare ink and paper handy if you want to print out the whole thing at once.

3. To conserve paper, print on both sides. If you don't have one of those awesome printers that flips it for you and you don't want to have to sit next to the printer and flip every sheet, then here's something I learned yesterday. On the printer settings that show up before you print, there should be an option towards the bottom that will allow you to print only odd and even numbered pages. Normally it will say "Print: All pages in range." Click on the down arrow so it shows "Odd pages" and "Even pages." Click "Odd pages" and then hit print. Let all the pages print and pay attention to how they come out of the printer. Once they're all finished, pick them all up and put them in the printer so that the blank side will be printed on. Hit print again, change it to "Even pages" and print out the rest.

Hole-punch the papers and put them in a binder to keep them safe and clean. I have a piece of notebook paper that I keep in the front with all my revision suggestions on it. I read them over real quick before each editing session to remind myself what I need to accomplish. Then I use a pen to go through and edit my manuscript. If I need to make an addition that won't fit between the lines, I take a piece of notebook paper, write down the addition, and then put it in the binder behind the page it belongs to.

Good luck!