Courtesy Dana Rothstein Dreamstime Stock Photos
I recycle glass, metal and plastics, newspapers, advertisements, and circulars, and use USDA certified biobased products but—when it comes to writing I print out page after page of my stories and articles. Reading what I’ve written on the computer works for my first few drafts but after that I need to look at the print on the page even when the piece is meant for an e-book or an on-line site.
Mistakes I hadn’t noticed when I read the words on the screen jump out and accuse me of carelessness. I cringe when I notice a dull sentence—so dull I know a more active word must be found, and often I discover I’ve repeated words or a descriptive phrase more times than I thought humanly possible.
Characters scold—telling me they would never use certain expressions or behave in a manner so completely removed from their reality. Sometimes my protagonist encourages me to change the direction of the plot or forces me to alter the antagonist’s motivation.
Courtesy Terry McAllister Dreamstime Stock Photos
I may find I haven’t clued my future reader into something they need to know—that would be a disaster and sometimes I’ve said too much—why would someone bother reading to the last page if they’re way ahead of me? Times and dates urge me to double and triple check and make sure the actions and events I’ve planned could have possibly happened within the period written about. Was that dish served or that special gown worn in that particular country, in that particular century?
I print out chapter pages or an entire article, make sure I have a pen and take it with me to work on in another place. Perhaps a ride on a bus, a park bench, or a coffee house; then it’s back to the computer to make changes and begin again—begin at the beginning.