I had intended this to be a longer and more interesting post, but it is getting late, and I don't have photos to post. In a sense, this is a dry run, and I can see that I'm going to have to scramble even harder than I was counting on to get even brief posts up. Which makes me happy that I decided to do things this way.
I am still frantically "clearing the decks" of everything I can before next Tuesday. I am, more or less, ready; I got my shipment of notebooks and one last ink from Goulet Pens a few days ago. I have not been paid or offered any compensation for mentioning them, I simply think they're a great source for pens, inks, and paper. The very little extra you may pay for some of these items will seem like a bargain the first time you have a reason to rely on their customer service, which is not only as good it gets, I consider it as good as it can get. I may order a few more inks later, if I have the chance, because I know they do all they can to get orders out as quickly as possible, but I do have a nice selection of different brands and colours to try out.
I ordered a few Rhodia notebooks from them as well, to write the novel on. Since the "Out of Stock" notice went up right after I put my order in, I may be to blame for that. I prefer top bound notebooks because they're just easier to work with. It isn't an accident that steno pads and reporters' notebooks share this style; they need to jot things down quickly and easily access what they've written. Normally, I like to use the Ampad steno pads, but those are getting tough to find, and when I got too low on those, I made the mistake of buying a stack of cheap Staples steno pads.
I can - barely - use them, but I can hardly wait until I get down to the end of those. The paper is cheap and terrible, and I hesitated to use it for this project because it is a hideous light green that spoils the colour of nearly any ink. So I snatched at the excuse to order the Rhodia pads instead. I can already tell that I'll be sad when I get near the end of these. They cost a bit more than even the better steno pads, but the paper is of so much higher quality that it illustrates the old saying "you get what you pay for". Using a single page in one of these notebooks has convinced me I need to get rid of my monolithic heap of cheap steno pads and start using paper that won't make me grit my teeth in frustration.
Now, I like these much better than anything else I've been able to find that I've tried, but I wish I had the ear of someone at Rhodia, because there are a few things they could do to make these even nicer. They do a lot of things right; they give you a nice, stiff backing so it isn't a struggle to write while holding one of these in the air, and they microperforate the tops of each sheet, so you can tear off the ragged edges you get on any page torn from a wirebound notebook. So my quibbles are really minor, and are entirely focused on the ruling of the pages. The perforations are so close to the top line, that if you want to use it at all, you have to be careful to write very small, while there is a wide blank space at the bottom. It would be nice if they'd shifted the ruling down, just a small amount. And I live for the day when the ruling in notebooks is subtle but attractive, but that's a complaint I have with every single sheet of ruled paper I've ever used...
I meant to tell my few readers a bit more, but I'll save most of that news for tomorrow. In the meantime, I do have an idea, and I have the first part of the story in my head clearly enough that I could sit down and write it now. The sample I'll be posting about is from my notes on the story, and to give you something to anticipate... I wrote this sample with an Indian pen (for a very specific reason) and an ink with echoes of World War Two (for another, similar reason). You can have fun trying to guess the name of the ink and the make and model of the pen, although the only prize you'll get for the right answers is the same prize I'll get for winning NaNo - personal satisfaction. And you're welcome to guess at my reasons for the choices I made, too, for the same incredible prize.