Writing Out By Hand: Preface and Day 1

After months worth of contemplation and consideration, I’ve started the copying exercise today.

I’m not sure whether the exercise has a specific name, but I’ve heard people saying that novelists often copy the work of their favorite writers out by hand. The purpose of this exercise, as far as I understand, it is to embed the style and the devices used by said favorite writer into the subconscious, so that in the end it enhances the rookie’s skills.

I was stuck between The Dune Chronicles (Frank Herbert) and The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer).

The Dune Chronicles is by far the Sci Fi legend. They say it is to Sci Fi what LoTR is to Fantasy. I finished reading Dune (just the first book) a couple of weeks ago, and the sheer brilliance of it struck me.tumblr_m589qrFffi1qbaom0.jpg

Of course, LoTR struck me as well, but perhaps I couldn’t appreciate it in the best way possible. I was only 12 when I read it, after all.

At any rate, I don’t much remember the style of LoTR, and what I do remember reminds me that it took a LOT of effort to understand it, even with the aid of the movies airing on TV repeatedly at the time.

The writing style in Dune, on the other hand, was very simple and straight forward. It was a bit slow in the beginning, what with the introduction of a whole slew of new word and phrases. But about 10% into the book, I could barely bare to put it down for more than an hour. So, It shot up to the very top of my list of possible copy material.

After that, I read the last book in the YA Sci Fi series, The Lunar Chronicles. Winter. (About which I wrote here)download (1).jpgWinter_Cover.jpg

I’ve read the three previous books in the series last year, as well as all the novellas. And I admired the style, as well as the versatility in the characters that Marissa Meyer wrote. The difference in themes, the vivid descriptions, the character developments. The stomach-aching humor. I loved the whole thing to bits (I still do;)). I’d say the same for Dune.

And, somehow without even myself realizing it, TLC was at the top, competing with Dune.

I didn’t know what to do.

I want to write both ways. In many respects, these books are similar. They are both Sci Fi, and they have large chunks of Fantasy. They work a lot on the world-building concepts. The major difference in them is the temperament.

While Dune was written for adults who would fully understand all the different themes and would actually enjoy the somewhat grim setting, TLC was written for Young Adults. People who are my age. People who crave for adventure in a world where all the world wants from us is labor (or intelligence, or maybe to just stay out of their business). Did I mention it was a retelling of a few major fairytales?

It is the difference in audience that sets the two books apart.

And I still couldn’t decide!

So, in the end, I decided that I would do both. I decided to copy a chapter of Dune, then a chapter from Cinder, then another chapter from Dune, and so on. Although I’m not sure that’s the best idea. Perhaps I should finish copying Dune, take a break, and then start with TLC.


The point is that I’VE STARTED!! And I know that it is too early to tell yet, but I know I’ll come out of this with more than I can carry. My fingers ached from all the writing after that one hour writing the first chapter from Dune (I’m not done yet).

I have a good feeling about this.

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