I did this last on January 31, 2017:
Now, by chance, yesterday, exactly 2 and 1/2 years later, on July 31, 2019…
…after four hours of printing, double-sided, 601 pages, another novel is freed for the first time from its “electronic imprisonment.”
This is the only paper copy of the full manuscript that I will probably ever print:
At the very least, while re-reading it, when I’m annoyed by something I’ve written… I can beat myself over the head with it until I’m unconscious.
All kidding aside, after doing this four times previously I have come to learn this is always that moment where I feel I have finally achieved something tangible. It never quite seems like a [nearly] completed book until there is that ream of paper poised there in all of its three-dimensional glory. Seeing it I am reassured that I have NOT spent nearly two years typing endlessly into some flat machine, but that there is indeed a novel here after all.
Now is when I kick back on the sofa, or in a garden chair, or pre-bedtime, or wherever I can pile it up, and read it from the beginning “cold”… meaning, I pretend I am any reader who buys it on Amazon and who has perhaps never seen any of it before. How does it flow? Is that a typo spell check missed? What needs cleaning up? Is that some two years of writing almost ready to be released hopefully to the approval of my friends (and to my family who may want to see it: “What the heck has he been writing? Am I in here?”) and for the enjoyment of people I don’t know and who might be almost anywhere on this planet?
I had laughed to my wife over Facetime (she was then on a short trip to Portugal) that evening back on January 31, 2017 that Conventions: The Garden At Paris was to be “my Gone With The Wind.” I’m not quite sure how I would similarly characterize this one?:
Perhaps it is kinda “my War And Peace?” Wait, oh, no… on second thought, what am I saying? Joking about Gone With The Wind was at least arguably funny.
But War And Peace is – for bazillions of people – the most no-go of all no-go books. It has been mythologized to the very top of the list of “terrifyingly difficult” and “LOOOOOOONG” novels that they have heard about and which they would therefore never even consider trying to read. (Much as that TSA security screener at Albany, New York Airport had said to me a few weeks ago when he found the paper copy of the novel in my hand luggage.) I do NOT want here even vaguely to infer that my latest novel is anywhere near those things! 😉
As was its predecessor, it is simply romantic fiction written closely following the contours of actual history – this time set between mostly 1796-1805 and again primarily in the US, Britain, and France; and again it includes historical people who are fictionalized at times. But you need not know a bit of history to read it – it is all self-contained in the story. And within the story there are of course also lots of uniforms and bonnets and sighs.
Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂