Sunday, May 31, 2009

Typing and Text

I'm not an authority on the many ways of writing first drafts, but I've used two different ways, which I have found very different.

Method 1: I type my first draft. To me, this method feels more permanent, as though the typed draft is a more real version. On the other hand, there's much less of a chance of my losing or damaging the computer than there is of something happening to a composition notebook. That's comforting, though I'm not fond of how fixed things feel after I've typed them.

Method 2: I write the first draft in a notebook. I like this method, because I can keep a composition book around with me much more easily than I can a computer. Also, the lack of permanence provides me with a certain level of comfort. Now, anything that isn't entirely perfect can be edited was I'm typing it into the computer later. It doesn't have to count. I like that thought.

At this moment, I'm partial to the notebook. My version of the notebook is a tamed down version of the notebook as created by one of my friends. Hers could eat mine for its supper. (Think Monster Book of Monsters having a go at The Standard Book of Spells.) Her version is a little less organized than mine with ideas scribbled in as they came to her. My mind can't quite handle that sort of thinking. Instead, I prefer to keep my ideas in my head until I know how I'm going to use them. Then, when the time comes for them to enter the story, I write them in my book. If I feel that I simply must put something on paper in case I forget it, then I put it on a post-it note which I them store in the book. So, I guess that's another method.

Method 3: The mother of all notebooks, in which all ideas and thoughts are stored in the book. If you type pages part way through the writing process, feel free to tape/staple/binder clip those pages and their related notes into the text at the point you wish to. I'm not a fan of this -- her book scares me and confuses me to boot -- but if it works for you, then I recommend one keeps going with it. What works works.

I guess the moral of the story is that whatever method works for you is the method that you should use. However, you should be open to new options of writing methods, because they may be a better fit for you than anything you've tried yet.

Questions: Does anyone have a different method of drafting that they find works well? Is there something you've tried that you think might work well for others?


  1. Well I definitely TYPE all of my first drafts... I use spell check but turn off the grammar and punctuation functions.

    I do not go back too often to edit through the story but I will go back to add textual layers when a plot development calls for some back story.

    I work this way through my first draft then print and hand edit through the first revision. All that being said, my latest chapter was written differently.

    Because my Chapter XVII was done in verse (an audio of the chapter can be found on my blog) I edited many, many, times to get it to completion.

  2. I type my drafts, but sometimes write the outline out first. It all depends where I am when I begin the process. However, I feel the computer is a better option for me because I type faster than I write.

    Lynnette Labelle

  3. LUV YOUR PIC! :)My first draft consisted of ideas jotted on an envelope, turning into a few conversations scribbled in a notebook, evolving into a typed 140k+ first draft in two months. Needless to say, its been a long road of editing, revisions, rewrites etc.
    Now half of my ideas get recorded into my "voice notes" feature on my phone while I'm driving. Then typed out when I get home and cant cause a traffic accident.