Saturday, September 12, 2015

Please Don't Squeeze Me

Evidently, I am full of panic, because when life puts the squeeze on me, that's what comes out. 

In my own defense, it seems like everything I've done this week, I had to do it twice: rewashing laundry, resending old paperwork, repeated trips to the store. I even had to re-enroll my kid in school where he's been a student since Kindergarten. I'm not kidding. The entire parish had to do it because some kids were attending school outside their district. But I digress... Everything twice. Okay. To add to my list of things to re-do, I can now add reprinting the hot mess draft, because...well, lemme tell you...

When revising and editing I have to work from hardcopy. I have to. I'm not at my best when revising on screen. So, a couple of days ago, I bought paper and ink and printed the hot mess draft back to front.

After an entire evening of wrestling with my printer, I finally got the draft printed. In 12 pt MT Bell, that came to about 148 pages. Hmm. The result of all that paper and ink seemed rather "thin" when I know the book is over 85k and more than 300 pages on screen, but the job was done, so I arranged all the pages and started working my way through the first chapter, noting places that needed revision.

About twenty pages in, a scene was missing. I made note of it in the margins and kept going. Then I encountered another missing scene. Okay, now that was curious. I stopped revising and began looking through what I had in hand. Only the first five chapters had chapter headings. I had also marked the book into three acts so I could divide up the book and work on each section individually. When I realized my Act 1, 2, and 3 markers were missing, it was time to cue the panic. I knew then something was very wrong with my draft.

I opened Scrivener and did a search for a phrase I remembered from the first missing scene. It was there in Scrivener. So was the other missing scene. However, it wasn't in my printed draft. I checked the Act markers. In Scrivener, it was all there. At this point, I'm thinking, what the crap is going on?

This is my first time using Scrivener to put a book together, and I'm not going to lie and tell you there isn't a learning curve. There is. A big one. I knew this before I printed the hot mess draft, and I was careful to read a couple of blog posts about printing from Scrivener before I tried it. And yet, I still ended up with only part of a manuscript.

I set my printed copy aside, and recompiled the manuscript from within Scrivener, trying a different setting/format. I still ended up without the headers. I tossed that file, and recompiled again in yet another setting/format. Finally, I ended up with a copy that had all my scenes, chapter headings, etc. Hurray. I'm glad I caught the error and fixed it before I got too far into revisions. However, now I have to reprint everything so I have a hardcopy to work from, which is in fact over 300 pages long.

I'm going to need more paper and more ink. No doubt about it. So, back to the store, then back to the revision trenches. C'est la vie. ♥

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