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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Ye Old Red Pen - IWSG October 2022



Welcome to IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other monthly contributors, click here. Thank you to October co-hosts : Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox.

I am always impressed when someone tells me they write their first drafts longhand. Imagine a 19th century author composing a manuscript with a quill pen, tying up the draft with string to deliver to a publisher (my imagination at work here). It’s more than I can fathom. Even ball-point pen on a lined legal pad feels daunting to me. Without the arrival of the personal computer, I’m confident I would not be a writer. My practice goes something like this. Stare into space for a while. Write a sentence. Write a paragraph. Decide the paragraph doesn’t say what I want it to. Delete most of it. Start again. In longhand, my drafts would be page after page of scratch outs.

That said, there’s nothing like printing out a draft and editing by hand. For the past year-and-a-half, I’ve been revising the first novel I ever tried to write. All those years ago I stopped working on it because the thing was such a complete mess, it was beyond my skills to fix it. I’m a better writer now. I pulled it out a few months after my husband died because the gosh-awful draft required focus. Focus provides distraction. Distraction helped me cope.

Now, I’ve gone through two revisions based on a fair bit of critiquing, which has helped improve the story to a point where I kind-of-sort-of thought maybe it was getting somewhere. With that in mind, I printed it out to read it from a different perspective.


Can you spell o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-e-d? I'm only eighty pages in, and the majority of them look like this. 


Have you ever drafted out a story longhand? 

Do you print your stories out to edit them?