February 27, 2014

first drafts and writing longhand

I was looking for something else a few weeks ago, when I found the original manuscript of my story "Mother Superior" (the first and title story of my first book). I wrote the story in 2004. Here's a photo!

In this one notebook, there were actually lots of first drafts of the stories I ended up publishing in that collection. I'd sort of forgotten that I didn't initially write them on the computer. Maybe I should write in unattractive spiral notebooks more often.

I like seeing the evidence of the instantaneous editing that happens in the initial writing of a story. Choices and quick changes like this happen all the time when you're writing (of course), but they disappear just as quickly on the computer and leave no traces. 

Up close and personal

It disturbs me a little that it has been so long ( a couple of years?) since I've written any fiction by hand. I like seeing it on the page like this. Why does it feel like such a novelty? 


Alice said...

Well, you know how I feel about this. My only comment would be to treat yourself to more beautiful notebooks. Be a snob.

saleema said...

That's just it. I have no shortage of beautiful notebooks! I think maybe I need to start using up the plain, non-descript ones that don't seem to come with any expectations built in.

Alice said...

I know what you mean about expectations. I must have got past that--or I love writing on good paper so much I don't care. I get hypnotized by the flow of ink--gel or fountain--on good paper. That tactile feeling is enough to make me want to add sentence upon sentence. The feeling has nothing to do with writing, but it gets me writing. And whatever gets me writing...

pat@siteandinsight.com said...

Does the pen matter? I used to write longhand with a splendid real ink pen. Even carried the bottle of ink with me to classes in case I needed to refill. I loved the way the pen moved across the paper -- and the way the blunt nib made my writing appear interesting, even if what I wrote wasn't.

saleema said...

Pat, I love thinking of you carrying your ink to classes.

The pen absolutely matters! It's paramount. I like a gel-ink hybrid with a lot of ink flow. I actually won't write with any other kind of pen at this point, so I have a lot of them around.

Alice, I agree with you about the paper, too, and I used to feel almost as obsessive about the paper as the pen. I think I should just pick up ANY notebook one day soon and see what happens. It might just be that my nice notebooks are too big and heavy to want to carry them around.