revising a draft

Here’s me, yesterday, revising an early draft of a story.  This is what it looks like early on–lots of writing all over the page: arrows, carrots, scribbles.  Then I go back and type in what I’ve written.  Then I print it out and write all over the typed pages again, over and over until it feels ready.  People often ask me if I write things by hand or type them.  I always used to say I typed.  Until one day I noticed that it’s about half and half.

The words scrolling on the screen are the words that resulted from the very writing moment happening in the video.  I don’t usually share early drafts with anybody at all, so it feels a little thrilling and crazy to put those words up for the world to see–especially when those little sentences are just newborns.  But people seem to be interested in the process of writing.  And you can’t talk about revision with something that’s already finished, can you?

My husband thinks the sound of the pen on the page is like a dog wagging its tail.  And that’s kind of exactly right.


Filed under excerpts, for writers, katherine's books, news!, prose, random, videos, WRITING WEDNESDAY

10 responses to “revising a draft

  1. Anj

    What a cool process to watch…and gives me hope, as it is exactly what I do with my writing! I, too, love the sounds of pen on paper and the shush of the hand pulling it along. Great post!

  2. lauramayes

    I love that you’d say that something is “kind of exactly right”. You are so my friend.

  3. Ah. I never realized what a PROCESS writing was until I took “Fiction Writing”…and was introduced to the WORKSHOP.

    Now I realize that it is like learning to walk–every single time with every single new story.

    Crawling. Toddling. Baby Steps.

    I’ve only had a few short stories come to fruition–I seem to live my writing life in revisions.


  4. kayceeconners

    The page looks HUGE — is it just a normal manuscript page? I would love a big page with lots of space to write anew. Thanks for sharing Katherine!

  5. I love that you use a fountain tip pen! It completely elevates the writing process…and makes you feel fancy!

  6. How enchanting to watch someone else at work…the sound of the pen on the paper, the scritch scratch made me think of a dog panting happily!!

    I love draft work, the going over and over until you feel you have something exactly right…so I loved your use of that “kind of exactly right” and I understood it so well!!

    I also love that you use a fountain pen!!

  7. Yes, a dog panting. Exactly. I can’t use a noisy pen, though. My distractability quotient demands silky and silent nibs. I’m already wanting to read the story!

  8. Linsey

    Love the pen. Love the process. I admire that even your edits are tidy in a free, artistic kind of way. I use the same print-it-out-and-write-all-over-the page editing process, but my scribbles are CRAZY looking (turning corners, sratched out, rewritten on the back…). Everything is beautiful…even very rough drafts with scribbles all over it! And even more beautiful with a good pen and good paper!

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