Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pitfalls of Handwriting a Novel

For some crazy reason, I decided before the start of NaNoWriMo that I would handwrite the novel.  I think the idea had something to do with being able to write anywhere, not just at a computer.  So far that's about the only practical reason I can think of.  Why was I so dumb to think that handwriting was a good idea?

After all, the biggest problem after I'm finished this thing is going to be typing it up.  I'm at 11k words right now - and let me tell you, my handwriting is not the easiest to read.  There are words that merge together in a messy jumble, and in some of the places where I decided to add a word, it's very hard to read.

As for the word count - at first I decided to update my word count by using an average word/page, which I determined after the first 5 pages of my novel.  I quickly threw this out the window after hand-counting some more pages, because my average number was way off from what I was fitting on the page.  That's not to say I'm so terrible at math that I can't calculate my average word/page, I just mean that I wildly fluctuate from lower than, same as, or higher than the average that I was missing a lot of words for my daily word count.

Surprisingly, what I thought would have been the worst aspect of all this has not been a factor at all.  I thought my wrist and hand would be screaming in pain, and that I would be jumping ship from the paper notebook to the electronic notebook.  That hasn't been the case at all, for which I am very thankful.  Otherwise I think I wouldn't even be this far in my writing.

I think the greatest benefit, the one that outweighs both of the negatives I mentioned above, is that the writing process is not being slowed down by the easy access to a delete key.  Sure, I can easily cross out words, but I find that I rarely do that unless there's a change I feel I really need to make.  I find that I'm thinking about what I'm putting to paper as I write - sure, the novel will need major work (see my twitter updates) when I'm done, but my creative output has never been as good as it is right now.

As crazy and sadistic as handwriting a 50,000+ word novel is, it is definitely working to my benefit.  I think it is the sole reason why I have the confidence to say that I WILL cross the 50k finish line and I WILL work hard to trim the novel into shape after November 30th.

1 comment:

  1. As much as I would love to hand write my novel, I don't for two reasons. One, like you, my handwriting is atrocious and scary and no one should ever be allowed to see it, not even me.

    Two, I think too fast for handwritten sentences. I'm barely able to keep up with my imagination in Microsoft Word. I don't know how I could handle having to hold onto ideas in my head long enough to write them down by hand. I'd go crazy, for sure.