The Orangey Wasteland of a Finished Manuscript

The raving scribbles of a lunatic, or the rewrite on my new book?

Shall we say both?

Last week, I finished the rewrite on a new book. It’s one I once told myself I would never do. By this, I mean something in the same rhyming verse as Zorgamazoo. But of course I was up against an old adage, something about the merits of saying “never.”

When I sent off the revised manuscript—which was quite extensive and more than doubled the length of the short first draft—I was elated. I was so happy, in fact, that I wondered if it was possible to become addicted to finishing books. After all, writing is long, lonely work. The same project dominates your life for weeks and weeks, possibly years. Whatever comes out on the other side, no matter how mangled and incoherent, seems pretty miraculous.

In my case, what came out on the other side was a floor covered in orange paper. Why orange? Because when I ran out of white, that was the colour of the paper I found in the furnace room that adjoins my apartment—meaning it was free.

These are pics of the rewrite, mind you, not the whole book. If anyone’s interested, my process involves printing off the existing draft and then working out changes and new verses by hand. When that’s done, I type up the material I like best (editors don’t love it when you submit in pencil, FYI).

The working title for this book is Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff. (Heh!) It should emerge from its cave, blinking and disoriented and ready for bookstores, sometime in early 2013.

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6 THOUGHTS TO " The Orangey Wasteland of a Finished Manuscript "

  1. Jason K. says:

    yay new book hopefully as good as zorgamazoo

  2. Andrea says:

    My students are hoping you are working on a sequel to “Dust City.” I taught “Zorgamazoo” to 6th graders last year, and “Dust City” to 7th graders this year. They all love your work, and it is an amazingly painless way to teach so many literary concepts. You are wonderful writer. Thank you for writing books that make kids say, “I want to read that again!”

    • Thanks, Andrea, that’s one of the most heartening comments I’ve had in ages. I’m simply happy that people out there are reading my books, let alone wanting to read them (gasp!) twice. As for sequels, I’m afraid there aren’t any plans in the works, but rest assured: new things are brewing…

      • Andrea says:

        So glad I could brighten your day- I have read your poetry and prose aloud 5 times a day for up to 4 weeks at a time, and I am still not tired of it. I am currently sharing “Zorgamazoo” with a class of gifted 6th graders, and they are gobbling it up like candy! Your enthusiasm and love of words shine through on every page. When I told my students that you were going to have a third book coming out, they were all sad to hear that they had to wait until next year! Would you ever consider a visit to a Florida middle school?

        • Thanks again, Andrea. I would certainly consider a visit to Florida. Be warned, though: the travel costs from Toronto could get pricey. As an alternative, I also do visits via Skype. Please send me an email, I can tell you more. rpw