Scratch Scratch Scratch

I went back to basics this evening and scratched out a few words on paper and pencil (well, biro to be specific). From a productivity standpoint the word processor is significantly quicker, but I still much prefer the physical act of writing for a first draft. The act of creating those little arcs and curves is essentially meditative and helps bring out the dreamer. But there is also something to be said for the discipline of having to order your thoughts before  putting them on the page. Its true you can easily move around chunks of text on a word processor but I tend to find that if I need to start moving chunks of text around, the text in question is probably beyond saving. Better off just writing it again.

Threw myself into some heavy exposition this session. I’ve been focusing so much on character and relationships that I was starting to lose any sense of the world that the story is happening in, and the larger power dynamics driving the plot. I’ve stolen an exposition device from the TV series ‘Rome’ and sketched out a scene with an announcer declaring the news to the public that fills in a lot of the back story and setting. I’ve balanced it by exploring the announcer’s small minded right wing mentality and introduced a mob of protesting socialist hecklers, so hopefully the exposition will be mostly invisible.

I think I did about 600 words tonight, but they’ll have to wait to be processed before they get added to the word count.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

2 thoughts on “Scratch Scratch Scratch

  1. I agree that writing pen/paper is poss the way 2 go! strange that I was the total opposite about 2 years ago, but i relised that even if what you write on pen/paper is shitty then when you type up you are on second draft stage allready! also makes you look better if people want to read what you are up to in the middle of writing process!


  2. Yup…a pen and paper version makes it much easier to go from first to second draft. Its much better to look from the paper to the computer screen than to have to constantly be flicking between windows on the computer. Worst of all is editing within a document. Thats OK for minor changes but for big things its better to rewrite.



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