I’ve mentioned before how, in a fit of madness, I decided to hand write my National Novel Writing Month novel this year. (I’ve also mentioned how I fell short.) I did this partly as a way to use up homemade notepads and to put three of my fountain pens to everyday, intense use. To wax fake Shakespearean about not “winning”, the fault, dear reader, is not in my pens, it is in myself.
Well, some of it was the pens’ fault.
It was fun to be writing by hand again. As tedious as it can be, there are a lot fewer distractions in a paper tablet than a piece of electronics attached to the internet. The main hassle, as I’ve mentioned before, is that writing two pages takes long enough that you begin to feel as if the scene is dragging on endlessly when, in fact, it’s only a page of printed text. I find that I underwrite when I write by hand as I always feel compelled to change scenes and get things moving. The result is more of an outline and random scenes than a coherent work.
There’s also the problem of random ideas coming in and demanding to be recorded. This can lead to lots of confusing shifts and asides that cause me to go “what the hell was I thinking” and “is my handwriting really that illegible” on a read through.
To help provide a meager sense of order to the proceedings, I used different color inks to show when I changed scenes or when I switched to character background and other forms of world building. I also developed a system of marginal marks that let me know when I was changing direction. This will make assembling the “assembled draft” a lot easier. (Note: I reread and cut up the manuscript and past it together in a better order before I start typing.)
The TWSBI 580 did most of the writing at first. I like the larger ink capacity of its piston filling mechanism and that its nib is broken and write’s well. Towards the end I started using the Levenger Sunset and the Namisu Nexus more.
The Levenger Sunset was, at best, okay. The nib is scratchy and in need of some tuning and it didn’t seem to get better the more I used it. I’m trying it now with a different ink, but unless it gets worked on (or I learn to work on it myself) it may be destined for a return to long term storage.
The real surprise was the Namisu Nexus with a titanium nib. Out of the box the titanium nib was squeaky but I wrote with it until the squeak went away and was replaced with a dull scratch. Towards the end of the month, I found myself reaching for the Nexus more often than before and I could feel the difference as the nib broke in. It doesn’t quite have the ink capacity to by my number one workhorse, but it may have just earned its way off the sales block.
I’ll keep working on the novel, by hand of course, but at this point it’s more of a long outline and random notes than a novel.