Sunday, March 22, 2015

Owning Multiple Machines is Great

This will be my last blog update for awhile. Getting married on Saturday and then jetting off to Charleston, South Carolina!

I'm now 115 pages into my new novel. It's turned into a jigsaw manuscript because I now have three typewriters that use the exact same font: my Olivetti-Underwood 21, the Remington Fleetwing, and the Touchmaster Five.

The Touchmaster is not an option because of a malfunctioning "R" key. The Fleetwing was being used until two weeks ago, it's light touch a welcome relief, when the platen jammed. I've never heard of such a thing happening to a manual typewriter. I just loaded another page into the machine and the knobs wouldn't budge. The carriage return lever moves, but it cannot advance the line. My only theory is that something broke off inside the carriage and is now clogging the action.

To make matters worse, my Quiet-Riter is suffering from escapement problems. These didn't really show up until I brought the machine to my apartment two weeks ago. I couldn't make it through a single page of text without multiple characters overlapping. It's now slated for a trip to Vern's as well.

So, the Olivetti 21 has come back out to help me finish the job. I'm getting adjusted to the heavier touch, and honestly, I'm just glad I have a working machine. Can you imagine a famous writer auctioning his typewriters and having to say, "I used all three of these for [insert groundbreaking novel] because two of them broke midway"? Would that somehow lower their value since all three were not used from Page 1 to The End?

The novel itself is taking shape quite nicely, for a first draft. I've made changes as I go, having learned a lot about myself in the process. I've learned that I do not have a good grasp of pacing in a per-industrial society. That will have to be edited in the second draft. I'll have to add more descriptions as well.

I was forced to concede that this may not turn into the multi-volume series I had hoped. It may end up being one long novel divided into four parts (which is fine, since epic fantasy allows for word counts over 150k). I'm only speculating, but it's very likely that's what will happen.

Meanwhile, I've also been working on a short story from the same universe, partly to help me breakout and get something published and to test drive a few of the characters. Initial feedback has been rather promising. One of the individuals who read it (and has several shorts published) offered his thoughts and then commented, "This story has a future." I sure hope so!

I won't run out of material any time soon. I've been keeping a dream journal for the last seven years and read over those bits last night. There's some good chunks in it I plan to convert into more stories. Maybe this will be the year I finally go pro.

Power to the pen!


  1. All the best wishes for your wedding and your writing!

  2. Oh, I know the feeling when you take a typer out and it just stops working. I brought my Cole Steel out yesterday (I had just fixed all its problems a few days before) and it was just a mess. Good luck getting your machines fixed.

  3. Congratulations and all the best for your wedding and life of married bliss.
    Enjoy Charleston it is a fantastic place, and this time of year should bring great weather.