As I finish off final drafts on two manuscripts I’m amazed by the writers of the past. With typewriter and whiteout or worse, with pen and ink, they drafted stories. How many rewrites did they write with cramped fingers in poor light and drafty rooms? But what amazes me most is that they wrote without an easy ability to rewrite. How did they do it?
Possibly the quality wasn’t as good.
Well, that theory is immediately pitched before the thought can even settle. Pull any classic off the shelf. I’m fairly sure that Tolstoy met today’s standards and then some and that Shakespeare’s work still holds its own plus, against any and all on the shelf. Many contemporary authors began with only a typewriter or pen. Read their earlier work and it compares well or better against current novels. So how did they do it?
Did they think long hours before putting that first word to paper? Did they have a rock solid outline that allowed for no error?