Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Trials and Joys of Drafting By Hand

Today, the spotlight is on author Misha Gericke and her newest novels. She's stopped by to tell us about...Well, I don't want give it away. It's impressive. Keep reading and find out for yourselves...

Take it away, Misha!!



The Trials and Joys of Drafting by Hand


It’s actually rather strange. Every time someone asks me about my writing method, I have to casually mention the fact that I rough draft every single novel by hand. And people freak out.

The first time I did it, my mom kept saying that she didn’t think it was wise, because I’d never be able to write any substantial amount of words by hand. At that time, I was well over 40k words in.

People don’t believe when I rattle off my word counts either. They always think I over-estimate. I don’t. In fact, I only estimate how many words I’ve written when I’m doing sprints, and I don’t want to take the time to count exactly how much I’ve written.

But count my words I do. Every single day.

So today, I thought I’d answer some frequently asked questions. Starting with…

Why?

Easy. I have a problem with being too perfectionistic with my drafts. Which means that if I type on a computer, I’m always tempted to delete something I’ve just written in order to “improve” it. I’m putting “improve” in quotes, because my off-the-cuff improvements in-draft never improve on what I’ve written. In fact, after switching to pen, I realized that a lot of stuff I would have been tempted to take out because I haven’t planned for them, turned out to actually make the story work.

Doesn’t it make your hand hurt?

A little, if I haven’t hand-drafted in a while. (Usually because of edits and rewrites.) I minimized the pain by investing in a fountain pen I only use for drafting and writing (occasionally) story notes.

But… doesn’t it mean you have to rewrite all your drafts?

Yes. All of them. And you know what? It’s awesome, because I rewrite knowing what I want, which means that I can type an average story out in about six weeks at the most. If I’m not distracted by other projects that need to be done. This also gives me a much cleaner draft to edit.

Doesn’t it impact your writing speed?

Yes, it does. I type approximately four times as fast as I write by hand. I like this, though, because it feels like I’m lingering over my words more as I write. In turn, this gives my mind the ability to see more implications of what I’ve written.

You hand write for NaNo too? Yeah, right.

Actually, I absolutely do. My record is 50k words in a bit more than three weeks. Outside NaNo, my word counts lie somewhere between 15k and 30k. More if I’m typing rewrites at the same time.

Do you always win NaNo?

No, but usually, what stops me is not related to my writing by hand. (Such as my day-job going crazy and taking all of my writing time.)

Aren’t you worried that someone will just open your notebook and read what you’ve written?

Not with my handwriting, apparently. I read it fine, but I’ve given my drafts to friends, and their eyes all screw up within five pages. So I figure I’m safe.

Any more questions? ;-)


The Vanished Knight



The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.


Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except... it's not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.


Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.


Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.


In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with.


One with a taste for destroying her life.



The Heir’s Choice



After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past. Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.


Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.


The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right?


Wrong.


Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.



Bio


Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after her dream of making a living as a writer.


If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog (http://Sylmion.blogspot.com), where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.


Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):


You can follow her Tumblr (http://mishagerrick.tumblr.com)
You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1
And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick



54 comments:

  1. Wow! I never hand write anything but this makes me feel like I should. I'm always over-analyzing and editing half of what I write as I go when I type.

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    1. I think it's something any over-editor should try once in their life. ;-)

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  2. I write bits and pieces by hand when I'm not near a computer, but haven't drafted an entire novel by hand. Would be interesting to see if it changed anything.

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    1. I think you'd be surprised at the difference. :-)

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  3. I do some of my first draft in a spiral notebook. The thing is, you're going to do revisions anyway, and if you do some of that when taking from a handwritten draft to a typed (word processed), nothing wrong with that. You get the job done. :)

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    1. That's exactly how I think about it. In fact, I know that my books are much more edit ready after the obligatory rewrite than if I just finished the rough draft on the computer.

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  4. I am truly impressed. You must write so quickly by hand. And to win NaNo by hand! Bravo! I can see how it would help with rewrites, though. Sometimes it is like we're typing a whole new manuscript anyway! :)

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  5. I write at the rate of about 350 words per hour. So the secret to NaNo is to put a lot of time into writing every day. :-)

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  6. Before we had a computer, I used to write everything by hand. Sometimes I still go back to it and get a lot more done for the same reasons. When I type, I can't help but edit as I go.

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    1. I find the temptation to edit as I go to be the bane of my existence. :-D

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  7. Wow...you actually do long-hand for NaNo?! I am impressed. My typing speed is a bit slow (the two finger variety) that is why I have stopped writing down my stories. I prefer the computer. It saves time.

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    1. Hahaha yes I do. I don't think I'd finish anything if I didn't longhand it first.

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  8. I am really, really impressed - by your patience and self-awareness and determination. You figured out what works for you, and you do it. And that's a lot less common than you'd think!! I couldn't do it - my handwriting is so horrendous that I would never be able to read my own work. So, I also admire what ust be your good handwriting ;)

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    1. Oh no, the only person who can read my handwriting is me. :-P

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  9. One more amazing thing about Misha. I did the first drafts for my first two novels by hand. Now I just outline by hand.
    Susan Says

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    1. I don't outline before my rough drafts, which might possibly be why writing by hand helps me so much. :-P

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  10. So cool! I love handwriting drafts. I get sidetracked with excitement once that's going great and jump on laptop so I'm not that great at finishing up a whole draft lol but I think you're on to something. I have the same issue with "improving" my work.

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    1. I actually don't draft all the way to the end either. I just draft until I know what I want to do with the rest of it. So usually I stop about two thirds of the way through.

      I learned that trick because with Doorways (which became the two books above), it nearly killed my inspiration to have too much written out.

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  11. Until my first NaNo, I always wrote by hand first. But I'm just as slow either way. At least if I type first, I can read it later.

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    1. LOL yes that's a good reason to type. ;-)

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  12. Great post, Misha!
    Best of luck w/ these titles!

    Heather

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  13. Great interview.

    I used to not take my tablet with me and write when I was away from my desk (evenings, slow times at work), thinking I'd waste time having to type it into the document later. But I discovered that it didn't slow me down. I *did* have to take time to type the handwritten stuff in, but it meant I had something to start me off when I sat down to my computer instead of staring at the screen and spending the first hour or two figuring out what the heck to write. LOL

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    1. Hahaha yeah I can see how typing something into the computer can start you off on the new chapter. :-)

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  14. I would think being off the computer would help you be more productive. I should try it.

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    1. It definitely is. It's not as easy to just "pop" onto the internet (and get stuck there for hours.)

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  15. I also write my first drafts by hand, usually getting to 30K or 40K words, but it will contain the germ of the story. Then I type it into the computer and revise from there.

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  16. You hand wrote 50K in 3 weeks? Hats off to you. It would be beyond me.

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    1. I haven't been able to repeat it, so I guess it's beyond me too. :-P

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  17. Theres something really neat about putting pen to paper but I guess even in the old days, authors used to hammer out drafts on typewriters. Now we've got computers, laptops and tablets. I use both.

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    1. A typewriter would serve the same purpose as hand drafting, since it doesn't have a delete button either.

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  18. I still write everything by hand. I'm not really fast, but like you, the screen inhibits me. I feel like it has to be perfect. Writing in a notebook, I can just let the ideas flow. And that is what I am doing right now with my manuscript.

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    1. Awesome! All the best with your draft. :-)

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  19. You have very good reasons for writing by hand. I write by hand if I'm stuck, because you're right, it takes away the ability to go back and edit, and it frees your creativity to go off on tangents and explore. All good stuff!

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    1. Yeah I just find that I'm not as happy drafting without that freedom.

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  20. I used to start by hand the first few chapters to get the creative juices flowing and then type the rest. This was many years ago. Now I'm so used to typing and using a virtual keyboard on my phone that it feels weird for me to hold a pen for too long. I wish this wasn't the case. I like writing in cursive.

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    1. It does feel weird to write by hand, and can be a bit painful (especially if you have the wrong pen), but eventually you get used to it.

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  21. I do most of my work on my laptop but I do sometimes draft scenes by hand, usually when I want to write but I'm somewhere not overly laptop-friendly (like the beach). It is a very different process for sure. Not sure I'd want to do a whole novel that way.

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    1. I'm so used to it that I don't think I'd be able to draft a story on my computer anymore.

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  22. OMgosh, I couldn't do it... my handwriting looks like hit (with an "s" in the front) but fair balls to you, Misha... that really is impressive... just don't lose your notebook !!!

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    1. Mark, loosing my note books is the main source of my paranoia. :-D

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  23. I love writing my short stories by hand, but prefer noveling on the computer. I've found if I write too much by hand, it starts looking like the version of cursive my daughter did when she was 4 and just thought she was writing cursive. However, I have several friends who write their novel first drafts by hand, and they love it. I figure whatever works for each person! And I'll probably never give up writing at least part of my short stories by hand. In fact, I've heard several speakers encourage folks with writers block to write by hand, because it uses a different part of the brain.

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    1. Yeah I think that makes sense, because drafting by hand just feels completely different.

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  24. I had a few stories I wrote the first draft by hand and then when I typed it up, started editing a little. I haven't done it in a while.

    Hubby has a little hand exercise thingy that's supposed to help him play guitar faster, maybe looking into exercises guitars use for their hands (or knitters. I know I have a few) might help keep your hand from hurting.

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    1. Yeah. Usually, the hand hurting comes as a result of using a bad pen. Pens that are too thin or that require too much pressure to write hurt my hand. Which is why I have a specific drafting pen. :-)

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  25. Wow. I'm impressed. And if it works, don't change it!

    I, however, couldn't. I get such awful writers cramp. Made for awful times in AP tests in high school and essay tests in college. But that's just me.

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    1. It might really be the size of the pen you use. But then, it could be that you hurt yourself with those tests... :-/

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  26. Great answers, Misha! And the books sound fantastic!

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  27. It looks fantastic, great work. Keep it up
    online journalism course

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  28. I'm surprised people freak out at the thought of writing a draft by hand. When I used to write novels, my first drafts were always handwritten. (The second and third drafts a lot of the time, too.) Then again, I grew up without a computer, so I guess it was inevitable for handwriting to become a habit for me, LOL.

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  29. It was a great post. I appreciate

    http://horsegoodtime.blogspot.ie/

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  30. I usually write the first page of a new chapter on paper...much easier on the eyes thinking about how to start when looking at paper vs a screen. :)

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