my finished draft in printed form (an illustrated squee)

Last year when I finished the first draft of Red Robin, I printed out a copy so that special k could read it. This was very exciting to me – considering that the longest conversation we’d ever had about my romance novel at that time went something like:

ME: So there’s this duke.

HIM: Hold on. Do you know how many dukes actually exist in the world? Isn’t that a little farfetched?

ME: So there’s this duke, and his name’s Roscoe.

HIM: Roscoe. Why did you call him Roscoe? I don’t think that was even a name back then.

ME: Never mind.

But Red Robin was an action! adventure! story, though sadly with no laser guns, no matter how often special k brings it up. So I printed off a copy, excited and a little nervous, and not sure he would actually get through the whole thing.

Special k reads slowly (he can take actual months to read a book. I don’t even know how that’s possible), so I knew that even if he did get through it, there was no way a sheaf of 90-odd loose pages would survive that long.

Because I was getting it printed at Officeworks it was the work of a moment to say, “Oh, hey, and can you bind it?” No fancy front or back, just a spine to hold the thing together. Funny thing though – when I held the bound draft in my hands it made me feel differently about it. The success of writing a story to the end was more tangible. I could flick through it and get a plastic sense of the story’s pace and arcs.

Writers will often print off scenes, because you see things differently in different media. This whole bound-draft thing was that – levelled up. It allowed me to see the draft as a coherent whole, which is vital when you’re doing structural edits.

Thus a tradition was born. When a draft is finished, I print and bind it. I love the idea of building up a library of drafts.

That makes it sound like I’ve done this many times over, which I haven’t. Turns out, writing a book takes a long time! Last week I finally got to print out a draft of My Lady Untamed:

and just in case you can’t get a proper sense for JUST HOW MUCH WRITING THIS IS:

The copy of the Robin was for Ken to read, so I never had the satisfaction of taking a red pen to it. This manuscript is all red pen. For example:

It’s a teensy weensy bit daunting, because it’s almost three hundred pages full of red pen. However, the scenes I’ve worked on so far are already so improved, that I’m feeling quite hopeful about this process.

For any writer out there listening, I thoroughly recommend the print-and-bind method.

Also – I FINISHED MY DRAFT!! I was so convinced this was never going to happen that my sole goal going into this year was: Finish The Book. And it’s only March. Whatever will I do with the rest of the year?

About anna cowan

I look around, and here I am - housewife and aspiring romance novelist. This seems unexpected.
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10 Responses to my finished draft in printed form (an illustrated squee)

  1. Catherine says:

    Ooh! When do I get to read it?!

  2. Wow, Anna!
    What an awesome feeling!
    To hold your finished masterpiece in your hands. Yay!

    I have to say, I tried to leave a message under one of your earlier blogs – heroines with hair (can’t remember the exact title!). I thought it was great you were going for reality rather than what was cosmetically acceptable. We don’t see a lot of that these days.

    Hope Special K loves your work as much as I loved reading your excerpt the other day!


  3. bleu_bleuet says:

    I am sooo happy for you!

    It must be a wonderful feeling to see your work become a part of our substantial world, a part that everyone can have access to and enjoy and that might make a difference for some people. You not least of all.
    Is it clear what I mean? If not, no matter, I am just really happy for you 😀

    C O N G R A T S !

    (Now hurry up and get the pages back to black and white!)

    • anna cowan says:

      thanks Bleuet! I’m getting a little impatient as well, and have to keep remembering to come back to patience, as it’s an important virtue for the writer (as I have discovered through much trial and error).

  4. Cheryl Nekvapil says:

    Are Red Robin and Lady Tamed two different books?? I thought you were working on one book .. .. ?? anyway, great progress Annii.

    • anna cowan says:

      yes, I can see how my post was a little confusing… Red Robin is the young adult sci-fi I was working on last year – the first book I printed and bound. My Lady Untamed is the adult romance I’ve been working on for a couple of years.

  5. Alex says:

    Congratulations! Keep us posted on when it will be available.

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