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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.

Ugh.

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?

15 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, my first book was written longhand. That's how I always wrote. But to complete the second, I decided to tackle NaNo and needed to write it on the computer. So most of what I write is on the computer now. (Although when I compose movie reviews, I always write them down first.)
You can do those edits!

Karen Baldwin said...

Funny post. Only as a kid did I write my stories in longhand. I don't have the patience to write longhand now, and when I do...I can hardly read what I wrote. And just as daunting would be typing again on an old Royal typewriter like I used to. I must have used gallons of Whiteout." When I went to Key West and Hemingway's home there was an Underwood typewriter there and the guide told us he stood and typed, Nope...couldn't do that,

Joanne said...

with my left handed scrawl, a longhand draft would be one big smear. I do print out stuff for editing and often read it out loud too. Hearing it, you catch a lot of problems. You've made it this far - you can do it! Create a full rainbow of color - the pot of gold is at the end. Good luck

Victoria Marie Lees said...

My writing is so bad and I second guess myself constantly. Longhand would be worthless as a draft to my story. However, I do print out drafts and edit by hand. Then I try to scrutinize my edits and type up a new draft.

Have a beautiful IWSG day!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I did print up my first manuscript and revised it. Also I got a full request for it at a SCBWI conference and had to print the whole thing for the editor. It was before elecronic submissions.

Hang in there in your revisions. You're learning a lot, and I bet your next manuscript will be easier. I put away my first one for now, and am starting to revise a second one. It is SO much easier.

Nick Wilford said...

It does make me wonder if those old time writers had to be so much more dedicated and focused when writing everything with a quill pen. Maybe we have too much luxury with the ability to easily scrub stuff out and move it around the page! Something to think about, but I definitely couldn't imagine writing a whole book longhand. I like hashing out plot ideas that way though.

Sandra Cox said...

Typing a manuscript on a typewriter was bad enough. I'd hate to do the whole process in long hand:) Though, I agree the pen is very helpful for revisions.
No matter how many times I go over my manuscript I always find something that could stand a cleanup. Sigh.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

AJ Bock said...

I'm sorry to hear about your husband.

Hang in there though with the edits. I print mine out to do hand edits. It's overwhelming, but I think it gives a different perspective.
I don't longhand because my penmanship is just horrible. I do type on my typewriter if I need a break from the screen.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - with thoughts ... but writing in longhand would finish me! I've been a typist forever ... I take notes and always transcribe onto the screen!! But good luck with editing etc ... take care and all the best - Hilary

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Liza - yikes! Longhand! No, I can't imagine although I kept journals for years and years, all of which I still have. I learned how to type in grade nine specifically to become a writer so...
I can't even imagine doing my revisions or editing longhand. I do print out my ms at a certain point to read it (after chilling for a few weeks) but any work is back on it.
Glad you are tackling this however you are doing it!

Damyanti Biswas said...

Hahaha, I wish I had the patience to write long-form. My brain is now trained to scribble at the speed of my thoughts.
I'm truly sorry for your loss, Liza!

Tonja Drecker said...

The idea of writing an entire MS by hand makes my muscles ache! I do write quite a few notes and pre-paragraphs by hand...quite a lot. And I do almost all editing rounds by hand, too (my eyes get tired of the screen).
So sorry for your loss.

Fundy Blue said...

I can't imagine what you must have gone through losing your husband, Lisa. It's good that your manuscript helped you cope. I used to write and edit everything in longhand, even when I finally bought a typewriter. It was so difficult for me to correct typing errors, that I typed a final copy only after my manuscript was exactly as I wanted it. I took a typing course, and slowly over the years I transitioned from a typewriter to doing everything on a computer. Now I print out my manuscripts for a final edit after my manuscript on the computer is finished. Wishing you success as you edit your manuscript. Focus on one paragraph at a time ~ You'll get there!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

For my fiction, I always draft my stories in longhand. After the first round of revision notes that i scribble in the draft, that's when I type everything onto a flash drive. After I type in the first round of revisions, I'll print out then read for another round of longhand revisions or revision notes. And so on until the story reads good.

I prefer longhand writing my stories and revisions because I feel both more active and creative in the writing process.But the word processor/word processing software is one of the most miraculous inventions of all time because it makes so much easier to make the story readable to everyone, let alone to submit your work where needed! For that, I would not give up my computer.

You have some nice revision manuscripts. I like looking at other people's longhand revision notes it's like calligraphy within itself!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

All my first drafts are done in longhand. When I type them, I get distracted by editing. It's too easy to fix stuff and hours go by and I've only written one chapter or half a chapter! For me, the first draft is about getting the story down as fast as possible so I don't overthink it. It's a mess, but I'm ok with that. Once the story is there in full, then I jump into the fun of editing.