The Old Days

I’ve often wondered, with no small amount of amazement, how it was people used to write books before word processing. Are there people who sit down and write a book - a good book, mind you, one that stands the test of time - by starting with the first word, then proceeding through until writing ‘The End’?

I mean, did Tolstoy write everything out long hand, cross bits out, add notes or additions to the margin, then write it ALL over again in long hand?

Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m always editing. Sometimes in small ways, searching out typos or grammar errors. Most of the time re-writing scenes, deleting scenes, adding scenes, tweaking the plot line….

How would you ever do that long hand?

Makes the Classics even that much more impressive. I’m sure there was some degree of editing, but I suspect that in the Old Days (tm) there was a lot of good work being written essentially from start to finish, the first draft highly reflective of the final draft.

Boggles my mind.