Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cut and Print!

Ta-da! The new blog design is tres, tres loverly, innit?

(That's right. I mixed French and British English. I can do that sort of thing. Because this is America.)

You have no idea how many hours of foolish messing about it took me to come up with this fairly simple blog renovation. I actually hit upon this design early in the process of redesign, but of course, me being me, I had to then go and try out sixty-seven other possibilities before I decided, “Eh, think I’ll go back to that first one.”

In my defense, my aesthetic is not easy to nail down. I have an unfortunate addiction to plaid shorts, for example. Can’t expect Blogger to support my peculiar notion of what looks good with a “Kristen, Who Likes Plaid Shorts, Will Like This Template,” now can I?

Make sure you click around and check out the tabs. Ivan the Muse will be very sad if you don’t look at his new page.

Well, that’s that then. Moving right along…

Here’s what I really want to talk about: When you’ve reached the end of your first draft or whatever you regard as your “final” draft (hahahaha – I love that term…final draft… it’s, like, the funniest concept ever), do you print out a copy to read it/edit it?  

I do this, not so much because it affords me some special ability to see mistakes because, believe me, it doesn’t. That's because mistakes are mischievous, living things. Oh, yes, and they’re not only alive, they have a well honed sense of irony and clearly they hate writers' ever-living guts. That's why they only jump out from hiding in plain sight once you’ve dispatched your “final” copy to a reader, agent, editor, etc. That’s how they get their kicks.

No, it’s not for proofreading's sake that I print stuff out. It’s because of my all-too-human need to see what I’ve been working on in some final-ish form. Because once they're printed, those words on the page have to stay where I darn well put them. Which makes it easier for me when I pound them with my tiny fists and shout, “For the love of God, stay still, you little [expletive deleted because this is supposedly the blog of someone who writes books for children]!!!”

But here’s the horrible thought that just occurred to me recently. With the advent of electronic publishing and the very real possibility that there will be books that will never come out in paper format, we are in a position of NEVER BEING DONE. Don’t you see? With a paper book, once it’s done, it’s done. Printed. The words are immutable -- or pretty close to it. Changing them is a difficult and expensive prospect. With e-books? Heck, you can always go back and change them.

En followed by a thousand o’s.

Don’t you understand what this means, people? You will not only be the author of a book, but its eternal steward. The temptation to rewrite will never leave you because rewriting will remain a realistic possibility for the book’s entire life.

I’m telling you, look not into that abyss. 'Tis the way of madness and oblivion.

One last thing…*sniff, sniff, sniff* Do you smell that? That strange, sugary smell? Doesn’t that smell like you’re standing downwind of a BLOG CONTEST??! Tune in next week to see what that’s all about. There’ll be prizes. Oh, yes. There will be prizes.

Oh, and I'm afraid, despite all my fiddling, I still cannot figure out how to fix Intense Debate to show comments on the main page. So if you want to leave me a comment--and I hope you do--you've got to click on the post title. Then the comment box should come up at the bottom of the page. 'Kay?