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Binding the 2nd Draft of An Insignificant Drop of Ink

Hello everyone! I’m excited to announce that I have officially completed the second draft of An Insignificant Drop of Ink at 133,000 words. The first draft was written during the onset of the pandemic in 2020, but needed a lot of rewrites. Due to the craziness of finishing up university, I didn’t get around to them until about a year ago – and realized I had to rewrite nearly half the book! The process was well-worth it, however, and this version of Ink is much more solid than the original draft.

Since it was such a long time in coming, I decided to celebrate by creating a bound edition of the draft. I’ve been binding copies of my books by hand since I first started writing at age 14 (nearly 10 years ago). I was really satisfied with how this one turned out, so I wanted to share pictures!

“Let’s get these pages turning again…”

Ink is a YA fantasy about a story within a story. In fact, Twig is merely a minor character when the author approaches her with a request: Return the pieces of the prince’s shattered heart. Having always admired the prince from afar, she is more than happy to take on her quest, even if she never gets recognized for it.

But she doesn’t stay unnoticed for long. The main characters have realized that the story has begun moving again – and they’re not happy about it. As Twig continues to try restoring the prince’s shattered heart, she comes face-to-face with these characters…and learns that her story is not the fairytale she assumed it to be.

Since flower imagery plays such a vital role in the story – the prince is literally the Rose Prince – I knew I wanted floral paper as the covering. I had received this lovely paper as a Christmas gift three years ago and knew that I had finally found the perfect use for it. That, along with the perfectly-shaped piece of cardboard I had been saving for four years (this is why I never throw anything away), became the main materials for the book.

While I typically like to double-side the printed copy of my drafts, due to printer issues, I ended up having to print 270 single-side pages. That’s a lot of paper to try to get a needle through, so out came the drill.

Since this is only a draft, I sewed pages in three batches of ~85 clumps of paper. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that the smaller the clumps*, the easier the pages turn, so for the final draft I will likely sew it in 20 page clumps. Lastly, I sewed a piece of fabric onto the end of the book, skipping the glue for now. All of this took about 6 hours.

Now, you might be thinking: Why put 6 hours into binding just a draft? (A draft I have literally given to my editor and said “write everything wrong with the book on the pages,” thus immortalizing its flaws.) That’s because the book has a secret…

*And no, “clumps” is not the technical term.

That’s right. The paper is removable from the binding, thanks to some clasps. This means that, when I’ve finally finished the final draft of Ink, I can simply remove the inside, and replace it with the newly-printed version.

Voila! Reusable handmade hardcover. For only 13 anime-episodes worth of work, I was very pleased with how it turned out. If you have any questions about the binding process, let me know in the comments below!

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