I wrote all 100,000 words of A Sparkle of Blue by hand and I regret it. Well, not regret, but I certainly feel like that when I am typing up my words or trying to interpret the writing. That being said, I am currently handwriting my second novel, and I think that it is the best way for me to create. No matter how much I hate it once I type about 85,000 words. I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you are as horrible with technology as I am.
The main reason I wrote by hand is because I do not have internet at my house. I know, we are cavemen. I write during my lunch hour at work, and needed a way to continue seamlessly at home, so the obvious answer was to have a notebook. I am also a big fan of stationary and carry my lovely notebooks everywhere I go. The most exciting part of my writing process is picking out the notebook and pens. I will never buy anything but gel pens, when the ink runs smoothly my ideas seem to follow. Not as smoothly as I always want. I figured that my rough draft would be literally rough, as my handwriting leaves much to be desired. I had a few heart attacks like when my cats would spill a glass of water near my precious work, or when I left it at the library. After each event, I swore never to be so careless again, but they survived. They now sit in a place of honor on my bookshelf, hopefully to be safe forever.
For ASOB (I know, I hate that acronym too), I ended up using three notebooks and 10 pens. I could not believe it. But nothing is more satisfying for flipping through the pages and watching the ink change colors. It allows me to leave messages to remind myself of plot points and allows me to see my accomplishments. It feels more like a living thing than a cold, typed document. I also don’t have to worry about hardware crashes!
My thought process originally was that if I wrote it out by hand, while typing I would edit. As I am now on my first round of editing, I am calling my typed version Draft 1.5. I have made some changes from my written work, but not all the changes that need to be made. At times, I am way too lazy to do anything but type while cringing at my awkward words.
But one thing typing my work has made me do, is really read through it. I can tell how much I have grown even in the three months that I was writing the story. I learned that adverbs are not a great image tool like I thought. About halfway through my second notebook I have a note made in red marker, “Don’t use adverbs!” I also realized how much I tell instead of showing, or when I show, it is way too much. No one cares that he walked three steps to the doorknob, and turned it before walking through. I have probably cut over 10,000 words already! This had been a major theme in my editing so far. But what I am most proud of is that I enjoyed my story. Sure there were a few weird parts, but all in all, my story is something I would want to read. If that isn’t your main goal, then I don’t know what is.
The reason I am writing this blog to begin with is to discuss how my writing has grown, but I am also hoping to help it grow. My writing currently lacks a strong voice. I think it is OK, passable most of the time, but I am a bit of a chameleon. I am a shy introvert and tend to easily get swept into whatever persona the person I am talking to wants from me. While this is great for earning trust, I hate it in my writing. You can always tell a writer’s style, even if you just read a paragraph or so. Agatha Christie’s flowing prose versus James Patterson’s quick, dialogue-driven novels. (Two of my absolute favorite authors) So here I am, baring it all and hoping that my voice is entertaining, after spending years trying to make it sound academic and stiff.
Long story short, while I am procrastinating on typing my story, I highly recommend handwriting your own chicken scratch rough draft. If nothing else, the full notebooks look great on a shelfie! #humblebrag #I’mObviouslyaGreatAuthor
Anyone else handwrite their novels?