Is Freehand the Best Way to Write a First Draft?

If you’d asked me that question  six months ago I’d have said, “No chance.” The reason for this reaction is the fact that my writing is unintelligible to most people – including me, and has always been so. But oddly it was this fact that eventually made me change my mind entirely.

I don’t write a lot of books. I suppose I must average one a year. Until this latest effort I’ve always used a computer to write them – from first draft to the completed travesties that finally get published. But for ‘Silent Resistance’ there was no computer available at the locations in which I composed this fair tale of derring-do (or as Sir Terry Pratchett once put it – ‘telling myself the story’). I was forced to fall back upon the pen, paper, stiff fingers, and aching wrist. Here is an example of the resulting mess…

hand written smaller

Well here comes the good bit: I really struggle to read that. When I transcribe this onto computer I have to really concentrate. In the process of doing so I spot errors – be they grammatical, storyline faults, erroneous continuity, spelling, and all that hoo-hah. Of course it’s the easiest thing in the world to correct them. I don’t need to delete anything: I just alter it at the point of typing or totally ignore the faulty script. I don’t get attached to storylines or characters, and can change or remove them without actually deleting anything. It’s so liberating. It’s like someone else has written a great story really badly, and all I have to do is make it right. The results then look something like this…  

second draft smaller   

My only concern now is – what am I gonna do with the third draft?


About Tooty Nolan

Writer of silly tales, taker of pictures, and all round good egg
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4 Responses to Is Freehand the Best Way to Write a First Draft?

  1. Interesting. I’ve always loved the freedom of computers to edit as I see fit, but maybe there’s something to that 😛

  2. colonialist says:

    The third draft is when your mind goes blank and the draft is in one ear and out of the other?
    Without a portable typewriter, none of my early writtings would have got wrat. Not even I can read my longhand scribble.

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