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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Writing By Hand by Katie Lynn Daniels - a guest post

I have always had a strange method of writing drafts. Since I'm a complete and utter panster, I always write the first draft without any clue what's going to happen, and then use that as a road map for my second draft. As a result, my second draft tends to be completely new material, not a rewrite at all. Once I figured out that I didn't actually rewrite my first draft and consigned myself to drafting twice, my ability to get stuff done increased a great deal. 

My first draft of Loki died at 53K, a little over half done. I used it to write an outline that is almost as long as my published novellas. And then I made a decision I sincerely hoped I wouldn't regret--I'm writing Loki 2.0 completely by hand. 

There were several reasons why I wanted to write by hand. When I first started writing I wrote that way exclusively. When I switched to typing, I found that my handwritten stuff was, as a better rule, better quality. The second reason I wanted to write by hand was because I started working at a daycare where I get quite a bit of reading time in during naptime. If my work was analogue, I theorized, I could take it with me to work, on the bus, etc. The downsides included deciding handwriting was too much work, and not writing anything at all. There was also the rather large issue of trying to type it all up at the end. 

Another writer who had written both his novels by hand gave me the very good advice of typing it up as I went along, rather than doing it all at once, and this has worked out really well. It's a great activity to engage in while procrastinating on the actual writing part of the book. 

Writing by hand forces you to stop and think about what you're going to say before you say it. When working off of an outline this results in a smoother draft that needs less rewriting than haphazardly slapping down whatever words come to mind. It also results in having a beautiful handwritten manuscript you can brag about to your friends forever after. It's probably not a system I'll use when finishing my Supervillain of the Day series, but for something as special as this novel is turning out to be, it was the right choice. Since starting it at the beginning of the month it is over 13,000 typed words, and 117 handwritten pages.

If one were to list the pros and cons of handwriting it would fill a volume, and ultimately result in a draw. For many people it's simply not practical. A lot of people can't read their own handwriting--I'm often one of them. But if you're feeling stuck in the rut with your draft or wish you could write to a change of scenery without dragging a laptop along, writing by hand may be an option worth considering. 

Twitter: @authorkatielynn
Blog: vaguelycircular.com
Loki nove: loki.wpthunder.com

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