In today’s world, perhaps the most unlikely image of a writer is someone with a pen in hand. Fast and responsive computer keyboards, voice activated software…the tech world of Doc Savage (and beyond) is everywhere these days.
But there are a few throwbacks — true anachronisms — who still write everything in longhand first. Yes, I am one of those madmen.
In a previous post I referred to the use of a pen and paper as “The Lovecraft Method”. HPL, certainly one of the greatest of all pulp writers, was notorious for crafting all of his stories in longhand, and then only grudgingly, with much angst about the agony and hell of typing, copying them using a typewriter. He loved pens that had smooth, free-flowing ink, and loathed the dreaded clacking keys.
While not sharing his hatred of typing, I do find there is something primal and satisfying about scrawling down narratives by hand. When creating that way, I find I am more inspired, more likely to push out onto the edge. So the 400,000 or so words of the Talos saga (so far) have all been scribbled first.
Of course should my papers ever merit cataloguing after I have succumbed to the dust that is death, I have genuine pity for anyone tasked with deciphering the damn things. Here, for those with sharp eyes, nimble brains (and perhaps a bit of the masochist in them), are samples of Lovecraft’s handwritten first page of the classic The Case of Charles Dexter Ward…and below it, a longhand page from the Doc Talos story Violent Night.