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I have a stack of notebooks. Almost every story I have started ends up in these (as well as revision notes, scrawl from phone calls w editor & w agent & w crit partners). When I travel, I always have a notebook, & on flights & in airports & when I am waiting for appointments or getting my hair dyed, I write in longhand.

Mostly, the only one who ever sees inside my notebooks is, well, me. They are my unpolished, as first draft as it gets text. They are the "just rolled outta bed, haven't combed my hair or washed my face or oh gods where is my tea??" version of text :)

That said, people often ask about the writing process. It is one of the top 3 writing questions asked in email & at events. I did a big blog on writing the manga (& a lenghy thing on it over at the Book Smugglers--and on the USB drives I gave out at events last year). I guess this is part of the answer to "How do I write a book?" For those who are interested, under the cut is the early stuff from Wicked Lovely that not even my editor or agent or crit partner have ever seen. For those who aren't interested, well, it's under an lj-cut to spare you :)

NOTE #1: If you "click" the images twice, they should get big enough to read. The first "click" will open in a new page, & the second click will enlarge them to full screen.

NOTE #2: I do apologize for my handwriting. You can see that the faster the thoughts go, the less readable it is. . . which has the unfortunate consequence of making the transcription from notebook to type a challenge sometimes.









And, a few notes to myself . . .




Now, off to see if I can find what I was actually looking for in these journals ;)

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
maggie_writes
Nov. 20th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
Wow! This is fascinating. I can't believe how different the prologue ended up being!!! Thank you for sharing it with us. That's so kind of you. Trust me I know exactly how you feel. I would HATE it if people read my notebooks without my permission.
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
The beginning is often the part that changes the most for me. I have a number of prologues that I wrote & rejected.
maprilynne
Nov. 20th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
As someone who never writes long-hand (because I can't type worth crap, thus transcribing=difficult even before handwriting issues:)) this is fascinating!
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
I type with one hand (thumb & 3 fingers), so I'm far from good at typing. Longhand is great for on the road tho. I don't need to tote a laptop everywhere, just a notebook & pen. The hard part is reading my handwriting ;)
pixie___masque
Nov. 20th, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
you write like I do in that cursive-print hybrid style. Thank you for sharing these. And thank you for taking time to update your livejournal every couple of days. Keep your fans updated and whatnot.
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
"hybrid style" . . . I like that. It sounds far nicer than the terms my teachers & then my students used for it ;)
patesden
Nov. 20th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the peek inside your brain and WL's infancy. A great, pratical lesson on focusing a prologue.
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I love it when the word "practical" is applied to my process. Thank you :)
briarspell
Nov. 20th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing this with us :).
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
My pleasure :)
literati_rain66
Nov. 20th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
Ooh. That's cool. I feel like I just violated your personal journal... but it was way cool. ;)
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
It's only violation if there's not consent :)
refined_mirages
Nov. 20th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
I do most of my writing in long hand too and my notebooks look a lot like yours. I don't think I'd be willing to share what they look like though so I give you props for sharing.
melissa_writing
Nov. 20th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
I figure the handwriting is so messy ppl can't really read most of it anyhow ;)
mairijeaan
Nov. 21st, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
You have AMAZING handwriting. Beautiful and elegant, yet somehow illegible at the same time! It reminds me of my mom's; maybe it's a teacher thing? Thanks so much for this glimpse! It's always exciting to know that being a crazy writer is a good sign :)
tracy_d74
Nov. 21st, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the glance inside. My notebooks are way crazier . . . I write on a diagnol if I am writing out a full chapter or scenes. My brief notes are straight on the lines.

No one reads my notebook either . . . my friends call dibs on who gets them when I die. As if they could read them.
sora_blue
Nov. 24th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing these. It makes me feel a little saner to see other people brainstorm/plot through written conversations to themselves regarding whose story it is. :)
shellijohannes
Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
wow this is fascinating - thanks melissa for sharing such early notes. i dont know if i could be so brave :)
lovealwaysliana
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
omg how do you write by hand?! ;)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )