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  1. MVP
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    MVP Member

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    What does your rough draft look like?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MVP, Feb 12, 2012.

    Well?

    This question is directed at the rough draft, not MS that are properly formatted and polished.

    Maybe you hand write, some people type. If you handwrite, do you write in cursive, in a notebook or just sheeted paper? Does your work look like the manuscripts in printed books? Or do you not indent your paragraphs, but skip 2 lines between them and not use margins? What color is your ink or pencil? Do you print out each page as you complete it? is your RD covered with post its to add or remove parts during editing? Do you center, what font do you use?

    Just bored, should be writing, but instead, just wondering...
     
  2. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Hi MVP,

    There's only one proper way to describe my rough drafts, and that's "garbage"! :p

    I type my rough drafts up. My handwriting is terrible, and I can't write more than 4-5 pages of something without my hand getting cramped up. I definitely don't type my very roughest of drafts like a printed book, although I stubbornly follow every grammatical rule that should be applied (indents, commas, capitalization, etc.). I don't print the pages out afterwards, I simply leave it saved onto Microsoft Word. I traditionally use the "Times New Roman" font, with 12 font size.

    All my rough drafts are terrible, terrible writing, but hey, I have to start somewhere right?

    I hope this sates your boredom a little. Cheers.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My rough draft is in manuscript format too. Why start in a different format?

    I save off copies as initial drafts, and continue to edit the live manuscript.

    If I handwrite a draft, I might as well burn it. My handwriting is even hard for me to read.
     
  4. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    I'm just using a single word document that I can edit as I go along. I can type much more quickly than I can write plus it's easier to edit and change things which I will need to do plenty of times. I've never felt the need to kill trees and give myself cramps in my hand just for the fun of it. I'll take advantage of modern technology.
     
  5. Wayne Kernochan
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    Wayne Kernochan Member

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    It's a mess. I don't write books. I rewrite them :)

    I have seven copies of the same ms in three different programs, and it's only 7,500 words old
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Once I start actually writing (as opposed to sketching out plot and character ideas), I do it in WORD in proper MS format. Any other way would just create more work.

    Wayne - seven copies in three different programs?? Why would you do that? I would think you'd spend more time trying to keep track of all the copies, keeping them consistent, than actually writing.
     
  7. Liza
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    Liza Active Member

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    I write in my notebook because it's easier for me. I certainly don't have good handwriting, but I can read it, so, hey. I'll copy it all over onto Word when I start editing. I think that writing by pen is easier for me, because of the portability, and I actually feel like I'm writing, and I notice mistakes more easily. I don't want to spend much time on the computer, either. Too many distractions. This way, I can write whenever I want.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've posted this before somewhere else on this forum, but here it is again, just because it fits and I don't want to rewrite it all:

    I write either with computer (Microsoft Word) or with a pen. The pen and a notebook comprise the best word processor ever invented.

    Of course, like everybody else, I type much faster than I can write by hand. In my case, that’s irrelevant. I’m not one of those geniuses who can write good prose at typing speed – about 98% of my writing time is spent staring off into space thinking about what the next sentence or phrase should be, not actually setting it down on the page. My writing speed is definitely not limited by the speed at which I get the words down; it’s limited by the speed at which I can think of the words, and that speed is not very high. So it really doesn’t matter, speedwise, whether I use a computer or a pen.

    One of the major benefits of writing by hand is that the user interface, so to speak, is very free-form. I cross out words I don’t like, but as another poster said, never enough that I can’t read them after. So all “mistakes” and corrections are always visible. Sometimes when I can’t decide which of three or four words to use, I’ll write them in small print in a column where the final choice should go in the manuscript so that I can choose from them later. I can add new paragraphs by writing at right angles to the normal text in the margins. If I have to insert a large amount of text, I put a red circled A (or other letter) where the insert goes, and write the insert on the reverse side of the page. If I favor one version of a sentence over another at the time of initial composition, I write both down with the favorite written larger. I use several colors of pen and each color has a different purpose. Some people who do this kind of thing wind up complaining that their manuscript looks like a mess, and that’s why they prefer using a computer, but I think my pages look kind of like works of art in themselves, and they’re certainly a better record of my thought processes than any computer-written page.

    Another benefit of using a pen is that I get immediate psychological feedback from doing it. I can tell by the look of my handwriting, and by how my hand feels as I write it, how I’m feeling at the moment, and I can use that information as I write. I can, to a certain extent, play myself into and out of moods with my guitar; I can do the same with handwriting. I get a little of the same kind of feedback when I write by computer, but nowhere near as intensely, and the effect is only there as I’m actually writing – I can’t look at the results the next day and see what kind of mood I was in because the computer text looks the same no matter what I was feeling like when I wrote it.

    Lastly, there’s the pure physical pleasure I get from writing by hand. When I’m playing a synthesizer, I’m keenly aware that my fingers are on plastic keys and the sound emerges from a speaker separated from my fingers by a long chain of transducers, electronic hardware, and digital signal processing software. There’s no connection between me and the music. When I’m playing guitar, my fingers are touching the strings that are vibrating and producing the sound, and I feel very physically connected to the music. The same thing happens with writing by hand – I feel connected to the words in a way I never do when typing on a keyboard. I’ve never tried to quantitatively measure whether that affects my prose at all – whether or not my sentences are longer or shorter one way or another, or whether I use more metaphorical imagery, or whatever – but after an hour of writing by hand, I feel like I’ve been doing an artist’s work, whereas after an hour of typing, I feel like I’ve just been, well, typing.

    Oh, one more thing (so the previous paragraph shouldn’t have started “Lastly”, I guess): Obviously, I can’t submit a handwritten manuscript to anybody, so when I’m writing by hand, I know that I’ll be typing the work into a computer at a later time. It may be that the knowledge that what I’m writing isn’t the “final” version, that I’ll have another pass to make corrections and rewrites, makes me freer during the composition to experiment, maybe, or just to be a bit more adventurous in my choices of words, images, and rhythms, than I would be if I thought I might be working on a “final” version.

    So there it is: about 800 words on why I like writing with a pen, all written on a computer.
     
  9. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Overused words that I need to go back and fix with a thesaurus.

    Incomplete metaphors EXAMPLE:

    My class is as dumb as bird poop on a _____(insert place that one would find bird poo)
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write it in a word document too, and use more or less proper ms format. sometimes I change font as I go along, most of all for variation, and right now for ex. I've played with font size and margins to have about as many words on the page as would the finished book (even if it means I end up with an unusually looong page) but those things are easy to fix once I'm ready. I guess I write quite clean rough drafts because I correct typos and those little red marks under words as I go as with other little silly things which doesn't stop me for too long. When I was younger I wrote everything by hand, because that was all I had available (it was before computers... :D) and I loved the feeling handwriting gave me, but now I think it would be too much extra work (plus back then I didn't edit my work, I basically wrote just one draft) and I am faster in typing on the computer nowadays too.
     
  11. huskies
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    huskies Member

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    I am currently writing my first book 55K into it.

    I have been writing in word as one pieace, i have re wrote the begining in a seperate document which i will go back and blend in. I write notes in my books when i get an idea then decipher it when i get to the laptop.

    I am such a beginer that i have no idea what proper ms form should even be like, im just trying to get the story out my head as quick as i can. I guess the real work will start once im finished.
     
  12. Jamez
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    Jamez Member

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    My rough draft is in proper MS format (i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuscript_format). I just write, though, it's Word's job to keep the writing properly formatted! :)

    I have some additional Word documents (a one page synopsis, a one sentence elevator pitch and a rough outline), because another writer recommended writing them. I never use them in practice, though. I just tend to kind of read the book as if it were already finished in my mind and then write that down.
     
  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    My preparations take ages. I make outlines, character studies, lists of proposed chapters. I rough-draft the exciting scenes, have a separate file with interesting quotes and short excerpts from my favourite novels, verbatim stories that people told me, even, recently, I transcribed a part of a documentary on a famous witch hunter. Recipes for medicines as found in old texts, all kinds of descriptions and meanings and summaries about various topics that will be relevant. Research (geographical, historical, professional etc).

    For all this I use a Mac program similar to Word. I write new material in a separate document, but I have everything I have written so far copied into an outline mode document, where the headings are collapsable so I have a quick overview of which chapters I have written so far, and if I want to see what I wrote in there, I just need to expand the title (say Chapter 1), the whole finished text will appear.
    I write in Georgia 12, it reminds me of the usual book font.

    I always work on the assumption that the finished book will have about 300 words per page, and I aim for around 300 - 400 pages.
     
  14. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    ^^^This.

    The only time I write by hand is when I've just woken up (or not been able to get to sleep) and I get inspiration for a scene, so I write it down in the notebook by my bed. It frustrates me though because even as I write that rough scene out, it will change from the way I had it in my head, evolve, dialogue will be tweaked, and I keep going back and crossing things out and reordering sentences - asterisks in margins and notes everywhere. It's a mess. Often I then have to get up and go type it out on my laptop just because the untidiness of the rough draft is bugging me so much.

    That's why on those nights when I lie awake thinking about my novel and eventually inspiration strikes, I don't get to sleep at all until I have to get ready for work ;)
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mine look little different from my polished final ones,--typed on the computer--though i do sometimes start a piece of work out in pen on paper... when i do, it's always on pastel lined ampads with the hard backing and with a medium tip, blue ink, fat ballpoint, if i have them at the time... otherwise, could be on/with anything that's handy...
     
  16. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Like the back of a shop receipt/train ticket/envelope/payslip/my arm.....
     
  17. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I write everything on a computer. I actually format my drafts like printed books, so with smaller page sizes and such. I started doing it like this years ago (when I was ignorant of standard conventions, and when I went by the number of pages as opposed to the number of words) and have just kept doing it. I find it easier to write when there's only about 250 words to a page though, so even if I stopped formatting like this I'd keep to A5 pages.
     
  18. MVP
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    Interesting answers! It seems everyone's RD is as unique as their own way of telling a story.

    I use pen/paper and laptop. My RD looks like blocks of text, spaced apart from one another. When I finally get it into the computer, its more like a typed book. I always write in black ink, in composition books.
     
  19. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    I didn't know Word has a "manuscript" format. Shows whatI know, lol. Though I'm actually too poor for Word anyway and only have Open Office. I don't think that has a manuscript format.

    I just type it essentially normally. Arial 12. I indent my paragraphs, leaving lines bugs me.

    Writing by hand always seems like a good idea until I have to type it up, at which point I get too lazy to do it.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do NOT recommend your favorite software package here. All advertising is prohibited.

    Word is an industry standard, so mention of it is hard to avoid. But other writing software is not standard, and cannot be endorsed on this site.
     
  21. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first drafts are written on my computer, by hand in my school notebooks and on my cell phone. Understandably, it's a bitch putting it all together in the end...

    When I write on my computer I use indents and Times New Roman 12. Sometimes I play around with fonts that suits the story, because for some reason it inspires me a lot if it looks right. I change it back during the second draft though. The quality of writing changes drastically. I plan my stories ahead in detail, so if I'm uninspired I'll write slowly and really think about what I want to say and the writing is pretty good. If I'm really excited to write a scene it's usually pretty terrible, since I just want to finish writing it. Same if it is a boring scene I don't want to write and just have to finish... I sometimes think of my first drafts more like really detailed plot outlines rather than a draft. Not until the third draft do I feel comfortable showing it to other people.
     
  22. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I type my first draft on Final Draft 8 (mine are rough draft screenplays). Then I would quit writing that peice for a few days and then rewrite it on the same draft. Sometimes I have to make a new document and type again. Since I know that writing is rewriting, I would keep using the same rough draft and rewrite it. The first draft is properly formatted too, since FInal Draft automatically formats any script.
     
  23. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I type my drafts. I think my rough drafts are halfway decent, if far from perfect.
     
  24. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    This is almost exactly what I do! I have a binder with my character studies/photos, favorite novel quotes, research, and other related info. Then I write pen to paper - I just feel more connected to the words that way. Plus it allows me to WRITE rather than write and edit at the same time (which is what I'm tempted to do if I just type out the story as it comes out of my head). Then I type a chapter or so at time into a free software app I use to organize my book. I too am aiming for roughly 300 words per page, and probably closer to 400-500 pages total. We'll see how it goes!
     
  25. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    My roughest rough draft looks like scribbled on pieces of paper taped to a wall.

    My final draft looks like my rough draft, only better.
     
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