Writing by Hand

I’ve been typing up from the first draft of my ninja story this evening. Moving from first o second draft is my favourite part of the writing process. First draft is exciting, so hence also scary. Its like a new relationship. You have all these great expectations and lots of passion, and sometimes things turn out well, and other times they turn out badly. And one things for certain, nothing ever turns out as you expected it to.

For instance, my ninja story (currently going by the working title of The Hundredth Master of Ninja Assassin…responses to that welcome) is about 50% of the story I originally imagined before I started writing. It has a different central character, and a very different style. Thats the kind of uncertainty that makes first draft hard work.

Second draft is much more relaxed. The main shape of things is in place and that passionate relationship has settled down into more of a warm friendship. there is a great pleasure to the second draft, because I can start to see the opportunities to make the story shine…odd pieces of dialogue, stories within stories, small moments that reveal character…and build on them.

This year I’ve returned to writing first drafts by hand. I find that being faced with just a pen and paper is much better for my concentration, my laptop has far too many other distractions. It also makes me think about the big picture of the story, stops me tinkering with word orders and instead write through from the start of the story to the end. I don’t use fancy pens or paper though. Just regular biro and a notepad.

A few things of interest…

Readers at The Guardian talk about George R R Martin and A Song of Ice and Fire. Reminds me that I will ned to re-read them when GRRM finally lets us have the next book. And I’m surprised it hasn’t stirred more debate. Have the ASOIF fans not noticed yet?

Paul Bocaccio of Clarion ’09 and my friend from the World Fantasy Convention ruminates on Fancypants Book Bars.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

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