Today I printed out the complete manuscript of THE REFLECTING STONE in its current form, running 609 pages. The current word count is just under 116,000 words (goal being 120,000 for final draft). I used the new Courier font in 12-point with 1.25" margins all around, and double-spaced, so it would resemble the final product.
I wasn't sure there was a value in printing it out, even though I had been eager to do so at various times while writing it. It's going to change so much as I edit it, I figure why waste the paper. I am comfortable editing on my computer, and reading on it. It did occur to me that maybe I should have at least one hardcopy in case of a computer crash, although I have multiple copies on my computer and saved to a flash drive.
Now that I see it in hardcopy, I feel that excitement again that usually accompanies printing something out. I got a sense that what I have been working on all this time is actually meant to be printed on paper, something I had almost forgotten! I wanted to go paperless, and it's worked, but seeing the hardcopy is still a thrill.
I'll try editing from the hardcopy, to see whether it's better.
UPDATE ON THIS WEEKEND'S PROGRESS:
I made progress with rethinking the story using THE MARSHALL PLAN as a guide. At this point, I think the re-thinking will last until the final copy of the final draft is printed and mailed. Re-thinking is a quicksand from which there is no easy extrication.
I added some details to various scenes in each of the first 3 chapters and really like how they enrich the story. The first quarter of the book is now more or less finished (Chapters 1-3).
Chapter 4 is pivotal (entry into Act II). I like what I have overall, but there is this one significant reaction scene that I'm still going over again and again. It's been holding me up for several days now. I have edited it and re-edited it and have it down about as well as it can be for now. After all that work, I'm now thinking I will go ahead and rewrite it, changing it and introducing a new subplot (!). At this rate, I'll be done with it by the year 2011 and will finish Chapter 4 by mid-century. Or so it seems.
In conclusion, I put in several quality hours of work this weekend (wasn't counting but there were a few on Friday, Saturday and again on Sunday). In spite of tangible progress, it still feels I'm not really getting ahead . . . but I know I did move forward.
Wishing everyone else working on a novel much more rapid progress!