Writing Backwords

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(c) 2015 S.C.Feek

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci wrote his notes backwards? In order to read them da Vinci would need to use a mirror to read them. It is said he did this to prevent others, namely the church from reading them while others believe that he wrote this way as it was just easier being left handed. Either way his notes were backwards. Sometimes looking at a problem and turning it around could surprisingly solve the problem and that’s just want I did.

If you remember, back at the start of 2015 I set myself several goals. One of which was to transcribe my hand-written novel into Scrivener. I’m glad I had given myself the entire year to complete the task because I had several false starts already this year. Last July I grabbed a note book that I had bought over a year before and started writing. I didn’t know what i was writing but I just started writing. As I posted on feekwrites.com at the time, it was incredible how the process of handwriting the book kept me going. As wrote more and more I started building the story. When I finally wrote “The End” 260 pages later I was very proud at what I had written.

When I was finished I randomly selected five pages and counted the words on the page. I used the average of those five pages to determine that I had written over 50,000 words but I wanted an accurate word count and a digital version of the first draft. So I would start transcribing the book but I would start to rewrite the first chapters to align them better with the second half of book. This proved to more difficult than expected because I just wanted to rewrite, not just transcribe. The first three chapters are written in first person, which I abandoned as I found it limiting my story’s reach. When I sat down to transcribe these chapters I wanted to rewrite them, I wanted to improve the entire beginning of the novel. Last weekend I came up with the perfect solution.

I decided to transcribed the novel backwards. I started by transcribing Chapter 49 then I transcribed Chapter 48. Since I like how these chapters turned out, I have no desire to correct or change them, I just type them. As of this writing, just a week later I am about to start typing Chapter 30. I have 19 chapters completed, and over nearly 24,000 words. Eventually I’ll get to the final ten chapters and again I will do just simply type what is written. Sure when I get to the first (last) five chapters they’re still going to be bad, but at that point I just have five or six chapters left so I’ll just push myself through the muck to get it done.

To make this task even easier I have decided to use Evernote rather than Scrivener. Evernote is a cross platform application. This allows me to sit on the sofa with my iPad and the hand-written novel and type some of it in while I’m watching TV in the evening. As the chapters are finished I will boot up my Mac and copy them into to Scrivener, but there’s no rush for that. When I start working on the second draft I may do the first writing into Evernote, unless Scrivener has finally released its upcoming iPad version later this year.

I also wonder what purpose will the first draft be once it’s typed and I realize that it will not have any purpose rather than to be a typed version of the first draft. A digital backup of sorts. A long collection of character and story thoughts. I won’t print it as there’s no need since I already have a hand-written version. But once it’s in, then I will start with version two and that will be the version I will allow the public (readers of this blog) to read excerpts. When will that be? Maybe early 2016 – maybe that will be the goal for 2016. “Finish second draft of Novel and find Beta readers.” Time will tell. But when I get there, there will be no more writing backwards.

– Steve
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