Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ink on Page

I've learned that it's hard to take text seriously when it's just words on my monitor. Things I can wipe clean with the delete key, or select and replace. It has a feeling of impermanence.

In one sense this is good: it makes it easier to construct that all-important, sprawling first draft. Who cares about polishing it? Just get it out so it can be fixed later. There's less pressure when it's nothing more than colored pixels on a computer screen.

For example, I have just spent a half-dozen sentences all saying the same thing. Fun! But I can get away with it because it's on-screen.

The trouble comes later, when I'm polishing, sharpening, revising, honing not just the words and sentences but the whole shape of the story itself. So that I'm sure, or as sure as I can be, that it says what I meant it to say.

That's when I imagine the printed words on an actual page. A thick, creamy, rough-textured book page, with dark assertive type, maybe a drop cap. This ... is real. This is a book. Somehow there's a magic to the printed page: the words can be the same as they are on screen, but they carry more weight than the onscreen ramblings of earlier drafts.

Not to mention that it's helpful even when writing the rough draft to imagine the permanence and solidity and real-ness of the finished project. Someday this will be real!

1 comment:

*~sis~* said...

i miss writing on paper...pretty bound books, clean white paper...even if i was typing. it's just so much faster now (for me) to type on the computer....sadly :(