Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So I printed out my whole novel yesterday. Ever since Maggie stuck some toys down in the printer several years ago, it hasn't wanted to feed the paper. The last time I printed a novel I had to feed each page by hand, and oh em gee, was that an exercise in tedium. So this time I was like, I'm gonna fix that bad boy before I even start. A few days ago, I took it apart (not easy, I don't recommend it) and cleaned it thoroughly, made sure all the parts were free, and narrowed down the problem to a smooth roller which wasn't gripping the paper.

I thought for a while about how I could enhance the gripping power of that roller. Double-stick tape would stick to the paper, too. I could wrap a rubber band around it, but finding one the right size would be tedious. How about if I roughed up the surface of the roller, by scraping it with a steak knife? But then it hit me: rubber cement. Rubber cement is rubbery (hence the name) and dries fast, and if you get it anywhere it shouldn't be it rubs right off once it's dry. I didn't have much faith it would work. It was too easy.

But it did work! Woo! I printed out all my files with only one bad page. I didn't run out of ink or anything.

I'm really glad I printed it out. I'm a total Scrooge when it comes to the printer. The cartridges are $20, and that's for crappy remanufactured ones. The kids don't print except on special occasions. I don't print my writing. Now I'm thinking I need to do it. I really don't think electronically. I've known for a long time that I work best with my hands, so why not get writing out here in the real world where I have some tactile input? Because I'm a total Scrooge, remember?

Well, no more. The words don't look the same on a computer screen. I think it may be because I read so many others' words on the same screen, it lessens the immediate response of my brain to my own words. But when I have my story on a bunch of pages in front of me, mine are the only words there. Also, I can rifle through to find the page I want, instead of having to remember which file it's in.

I don't know how much work I'll be able to do on it today. Today the focus was going to be this Eternal Press story I'm editing, and I was going to do the sorting of pages when I needed a computer break. My sinuses are acting up, though, so I don't know how much eye time I'll have. We'll see how it goes.

{ 8 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Woo! Rubber cement rocks! And so do you for thinking of it!

    If I printed my stuff up I'd be all about formatting, font choices, layout, and about a billion other things -- including paper tooth -- which would only put me into yet another whirlwind.

    But it's nice to have it in your hands, ain't it? :D

  2. For me, there are no formatting or font choices, because I already have mine standardized and won't change. I do have to actively ignore the page numbers not matching, and the chapter headings which are missing, and my notes imbedded in the text. I gave my printout permission to be messy, because then I have the opportunity to organize the chaos. I just have to take it slow.

    Reading some of these things I haven't read in a long time has really gotten me excited.

  3. Ben knows better than to ask me to read something on the screen - I miss too much stuff like typos, grammar, etc. because my brain automatically fixes them as I read it. That stuff doesn't happen when I see it on paper. He hands me the printout, a red pen, and sometimes - if I'm lucky - something to drink.

    He put together a really cool apocalyptic 500 words or less story last night to submit for Horror Realm that I enjoyed editing for him. It's good stuff.

    Smart thinking with the rubber cement! I would have been worried that it would have gummed up the whole printer. You're one smart cookie!


  4. *bows* Thank you, thank you. Actually, the slippery wheel was in a pretty benign place, and I knew if the dried lump of glue fell off it would probably pass right through. No biggie. :)

  5. Genius for thinking of it! :)

    I think, if I was a writer, I'd want the printed stuff too. Something about holding it in your hands and being able to "red pen" it would be my style. I have long wanted to edit Darc's stuff that way when he asks me to read through it.

    Too bad there's not some kind of cheap printer out there with cheap ink. I'm a Scrooge too, and our ink is $35 a cartridge.

    Can you say pencils?

  6. Actually, there is a cheap printer with cheap cartridges. Of course "cheap" for us is, like, $5 and no printer costs that. :) However, take a look at this: When I buy a new printer, it will be a Kodak, with its $10 ink.

  7. Wow, that's actually not bad! And the printer prices that go with the ink, well, I suppose $130 or $150 isn't "unreasonable" as far as printers go.

    In the meantime, we could maybe save the desired file on a zip drive, and take it to Kinko's (are they FedEx or UPS now?) and have them print up the file for a small fee. They did some pics off a floppy for me a few years ago for around $10.


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