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I would recommend writing a first draft by hand.

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  2. No.

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  1. HenWii

    HenWii Member

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    Writing a novel by hand (your experiences)

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by HenWii, Jan 19, 2023.

    Hello dear writers,

    I want to write my next book with pen and paper. All I wrote so far was on the PC. I believe writing by hand is a completely different experience. That it might be more authentic (to me) and I like my first drafts to be on paper so I can better work with them.
    I never wrote a long story per hand. Which pen would you recommend? I think I will write with ink pen and line paper.
    What were your experiences writing a novel (first draft) by hand? I think it might be painful to the wrist...
    Feel free to share your experiences and insights as I would like to hear them.

    Have a good week. :geek:
     
  2. ps102

    ps102 Senior Member

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    My first few stories were written by hand. I didn't like this for two reasons. One, I'm far slower when typing by hand, and two, my handwriting is absolutely horrible.

    I have also written with a typewriter and I'm faster with it, but my stories don't quite come out the same way.

    Writing using both, I realized that my writing process is tailored to a word processor. I erase entire paragraphs as I go along and re-do them. And for that, the digital workspace with a blinking caret is pretty necessary, as I can just highlight the paragraph or sentence I want to re-do and make it disappear instantly.

    Even as I write this, I've erased the above content multiple to re-write it. In short, I use the backspace a lot and there's no such thing in a pen or a typewriter. Even in the fancier electronic typewriters with built-in erase tape, you still can't select paragraphs and make them disappear.

    The simple reason for this is that I just, for the life of me, cannot effectively convey what I want to convey in what I write the first time. I write a paragraph, I look at it, and I find that its awful, so I just try again by erasing it. That's the case for pretty much every paragraph I write. Whether it's an email, this post, a letter, a text to someone or anything else really. So, a pen? No way... unless I turn into those people from the movies who crumble up papers all the time and fill their trashcans with them.

    And yeah, I know that this is discouraged. I've heard "embrace the suck" many times, but my initial writing sucks so much it's impossible to ignore. There's no point of writing on top of absolutely horrible writing. I'm pretty sure this is a problem I have in general but it isn't something I know how to fix right now, so I'll just stick to LibreOffice :)
     
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  3. tde44

    tde44 New Member

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    I do all of my writing by hand - fountain pen, of which I have several (probably too many:eek:). At the end of each day, I transcribe it into the computer which allows me to also do a first level edit.
    My preference to doing it by hand is I don't get hung up on spelling, grammar, appearance, etc.; nor do I go down every internet rabbit hole while doing research.
     
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  4. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Slaintѐ mhaith Contributor

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    For years I wrote all first drafts by hand, but increasingly turned to a computer as my hands got arthritic. The writing implement one uses makes a huge amount of difference. Some, like cheap fountain pens, produce a lot more friction than is comfortable during marathon sessions. My favorite pens are Precise V5 rolling ball, extra fine. I can write by hand much longer with these than anything else and I buy them by the box. Occasionally one will spring a leak, and that's messily disconcerting, but overall, I've been happy with them for decades.

    On the other hand, if I want to be precise and thoughtful, I use a mechanical pencil which stays sharp but forces me to slow my hand and my thoughts down.
     
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  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think the experience is that different, at least I haven't found it to be. My computer crashed beyond repair on me and I couldn't afford a new one at the time. So, out of necessity I turned to a pen and paper and wrote a good portion of a novel by hand. Actually, I've handwritten two novels that I later typed up. Also written short stories, essays, and poems by hand. I don't really feel like it has much of an effect on the actual writing, but sometimes I just want to write by hand. Not sure why that is. I always have a notebook in use for writing. It's probably a similar experience to writing on a phone which I've never done. But to me writing is writing. I can pretty much do it anywhere.

    I like to write in fancy notebooks. I will spurge on those. It kind of makes me feel like I need to write something good when I shell out $20 or so on a notebook. Every time I get a new notebook I seem to fill it up quickly or at least put it to good use. However, I have no preference when it comes to pens. I can use any pen or pencil or whatever.
     
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  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The major problem with writing a novel by hand is that you then have to type it up so why not just type it in the first place?

    Creation takes place in the brain and it should make little difference how such creation is recorded
     
  7. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Slaintѐ mhaith Contributor

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    The funny thing is that what I write with does make a difference in how my brain works while writing.

    Working on the single draft memoirs I'm writing for my grandchildren, I use a mechanical pencil which requires me to slow down and think about what I'm writing. I also use a mechanical pencil when I am drafting an outline for a textbook or listing steps for an art project that will be reproduced by students. Once the basic ideas are down, I switch to computer.

    Making notes for a novel or writing a first draft of a short story, I scribble along with a pen in a notebook I carry just about everywhere I go that includes to-do lists, how-to notes, lists of books I want to read, ideas for stories and art projects, etc.. Once the basic ideas (novel) or manuscript (short story) are in place, I change back and forth between the computer and my notebook, sometimes without rhyme or reason beyond "I just feel like it." I haven't produced an entire first draft of a novel in longhand for a long time, but up until a decade or so ago, that was the only way I did it. Transcribing it onto the computer constituted the first rewrite.

    On the other hand, when I'm producing non-fiction meant for publication in periodicals, every bit of it is done on the computer because my head is fine with that kind of production and it decreases the number of nonbillable hours I spend on a project. This kind of writing requires far less imagination and emotional involvement than writing fiction and I don't need the physical involvement of moving a pen across paper.

    How's that for TMI about how my writing brain works? :D
     
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  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I think you're kind of right. I mean I just said that I really didn't think it had that much of an effect on my actual prose, but there's something to moving that pen across paper like you said. I totally get that. I guess sometimes I just feel like writing by hand too. I do have really messy handwriting, but that doesn't make a difference.
     
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  9. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Slaintѐ mhaith Contributor

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    People are different. I'm always interested in what affects the creative process of others. I hated a particular drawing class because the teacher insisted on playing smooth jazz which made me want to scream, not necessarily because of the genre but because when I'm working, manufactured sound is just noise to me. I started wearing the ear plugs I used for rifle practice and that helped. My husband goes about his work with headphones clamped to his ears and a constant stream of all different kinds of music fueling his production.

    My handwriting isn't necessarily messy (though it can be) but I've simplified it so much over the years that normal people might have a hard time following notes I make for myself. Heck, sometimes I have to make educated guesses myself.:D
     
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  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I did some scribbling today. I was trying to see if I could kind of feel out the differences. I mean it's kind of nice to be curled up under a blanket and all cozy with a pen and paper. It's cold and snowy today. I wrote in my notebook for about an hour or two. I started something new, not quite sure exactly what it is yet. I do plan on returning to this piece of writing soon. I think I'll write it out by hand some more. It's almost like a treat to handwrite sometimes. Maybe that's why I go all out with the notebooks.

    I have another story I've been writing on my computer. And another novel that is half typed up and half on my computer. I can be so lazy sometimes. I'll get to everything some day. ;)
     
  11. ABeaujolais

    ABeaujolais Member

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    It's not good or bad, it's just different. I'd compare it to a painter who uses different media. You can take the same idea but the expression of that idea, and the reception by the reader, will probably be different between a keyboard and hand written. The process of projecting an idea onto a page is different.

    I'm fortunate to have been around when my first manuscripts were hand-written. Once I started using a word program and had some time on it, I was amazed at what seemed like I thought the words and they magically appeared on the page. Motor movement below my head was not on a conscious level. The mere preference of a method will affect how the writer thinks about ideas.
     

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