clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fine Line

At left is an image from Ben FrantzDale of a tool suitable for ink or blood at your choosing.

I'm starting a big edit series tonight and I am working a printed double-space standard into a longhand draft of just those core bits that "worked" in the original story. I am removing all but the barest modifiers (contextual requirements only) and anything that is awkward/clumsy/ill fitting. I'm making notes about the elements that I want in these spots of the story but I am not bringing over the ones that failed.

I have tons of bits and slips of minor revision bits to incorporate into the hand draft.

Afterwards, I'll recast this hand draft by re-typing it into my editor of choice and beginning from there with this new effort as my "first draft."

I'm more worried about including garbage from the rough draft than I am about the amount of effort this longhand redraft requires.

I have a better feel of pacing, construction, characterization and quick dialogue longhand than I do when I am composing on the keyboard. I'm not sure why.

I'd be very interested in feedback from the readers : do you compose on the keyboard and edit in longhand in that draft , or do you compose longhand and type a revision into an editor ..or do you do it all electronically?

I'm just wondering if all the years of longhand in notebooks altered the way I perceive the works on the page?

E.H. worked a draft in pencil first (at least, at some time in his career) and this allowed him an automatic revision upon typing it out. I need to use pen for the contrast on the page but I think the same principle is at work somewhere in my brain: I need the full-draft recast early in the process.

I think about what I write for quite a bit after it is actually set down. The curse of recall and the regret of long distance voyaging.


Nigel G Mitchell said...

I have to admit, I've never really been able to write effectively longhand. It's faster for me and easier to type it out - my hand is too slow for my brain. But I do think longhand forces you to think about what you're writing rather than dashing it out. And I like your perspective that re-typing it amounts to editing it. Maybe I'll try it.

jack welling said...

Thanks Nigel. It seems to work to catch those line edits that are often invisible in the author's eye on a quick read.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I've always been able to "think" better when writing that first draft in longhand. Lots of writing and rewriting as I go, and then type it and edit again. And again. Ad nauseum. I can do some rewrites on the computer, but for that first creative surge of the first draft, only a pen and notebook will do.

If you have a Kindle, I've also found that once I think a piece is "done", I send it to my Kindle to read it there. It provides a whole new perspective.

jack welling said...

Brilliant - the Kindle.

Yes, there is something very different in the mind about "final appearance" reading to make things jump out. Brilliant sending it to the Kindle.

Thanks, Susan! (and I'm glad I'm not alone in the notebook and longhand club these days!).