Jeff Seymour - Author of Fantasy, Literary Fiction, & c.: Writing Wednesday: Manuscripts

Mailing List

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Manuscripts

Okay, so it's Thursday. But "Writing Wednesday" has such a ring to it, and I meant to post this yesterday but life got busy.

Anyway, for those of you who are wondering what a 133,000 word manuscript looks like when it's printed out, I submit the following:

Soulwoven is 580 pages manuscript-formatted, which is a fancy way of saying there is a lot of space around the words. I am presently looking at my Christmas tree, wondering if it could make that much paper, and suspecting not.

Manuscript formatting is an interesting thing, because it's ugly. Very ugly. And yet I have discovered over time that my initial reaction to it ("This is an antiquated idea perpetuated by stodgy old people who wish everyone still used typewriters") has changed. One of the ideas I latched upon while learning to write was the thought that it's very important to stand (figuratively, mind you) naked before your writing--to view it without any filters or prejudices and see it for what it really is. Most times that's very uncomfortable, and it's not until it becomes comfortable that a piece is ready for the rest of the world.

Manuscript formatting helps me do that. Courier New font, possibly the most ugly, utilitarian typeface in my word processor, does not hide anything. I see every comma, every letter, every space. I notice the length of my paragraphs and sentences. There is very little between me and the language, and while that can be painful, the whole point of editing is to find the flaws in a piece, not to cover them up.

So that's enough about that. It's beautiful outside. We have about a foot of snow and it keeps falling in big, fluffy flakes that make me wish I had someone to go outside and romp around with (my girlfriend went home for the holidays yesterday). Perhaps I will content myself with doing snow angels on my deck instead.

1 comment:

  1. Using the same font for scenarios in my association, I couldn't agree more. And I think that a huge pile of papers can also be the sexiest thing on earth sometimes.

    It just looks cool.