So my house is a mess. I mean, A MESS. Boxes everywhere. Piles of God knows what all over the place. I’ve been throwing things out by the ton.
See, I’m a pack rat. Still am. There are a lot of things I refuse to part with, but since I’m moving, I’m trying to be a little more realistic about what I need and don’t need. That means those jeans I’ve been holding onto for years…gone, Christmas decorations I don’t use…gone, old sinus meds, old t-shirts, unused furniture…gone.
One thing I realize I’ve gained a lot of is hard copies of the different novels I’ve written. (I’ve finished four novels…Hung Out to Die – my first sale – was actually book number three.) My process is this: first draft is done entirely on the computer, then comes the re-writes. I do rewrites in rounds, with each round basically being an edit and a fine tune. For the rewrite, I print out a full copy of the novel and then read it, marking it up as I’m going along. Often this involves complete rewrites of scenes, my revisions wrapping around to the backside of the printed page. I like the feel of reading the text on a printed page. I enjoy crossing out what’s wrong and noting the change I want to make. It’s freeing for me, somehow. That’s the first part. The fine tune comes in as I input the changes into my computer. I don’t just insert exactly what I’ve written. I give it a second look and make sure it’s what I want, rewriting again if I think something better will work.
That’s one rewrite round. I can do three, four, six, ten rounds. To me, getting the work right is extremely important. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who constantly rewrites and reworks. Between each rewrite, someone other than me usually reads the draft – maybe the members of my critique group, maybe a trusted friend, and now usually my editor. Their notes and questions and suggestions are what drive the next draft.
What does this have to do with my move? Simply this: I now realizes that I have a ton of printouts of all my manuscripts, each a different draft with different notes. And I’ve got to tell you, I can’t throw any of them out. So those five or six boxes are coming with me and probably will stay with me until one of us has turned to dust. My personal writing history. I’ll probably never look them over again. No one will. But these babies ain’t going anywhere.
And you know what? It’s actually a comforting thought.