Hello, writers. It's been a while since we've talked about the things we can't write without. Mine have changed a lot over the years. 35 years ago, I couldn't write without a spiral bound notebook. By the time I was 15, it had to be a college-ruled notebook. When I was 20 I got a job writing for the alumni newsletter at my college (Antioch). I said “I don't write on a computer” and my boss replied “You do now.”
Now I can't write without a computer. And an unlined notebook (aka a sketchbook). And blank index cards, and tape flags, and colored markers as well as ballpoint or gel pens (but they have to have good glide) in at least four legible colors.
And then sometimes I remember that I am-- like you-- a descendant of the storyteller who sat before the fire that our tribe had recently learned to kindle, and that all we needed then was words.
Computers have changed the way we write. We didn't used to go through hundreds of revisions, because it was just too much work. Some of the 19th century classics contain alarming errors of flow-- changed POV, change from 3rd person to 1st, characters getting younger and then older again, timelines that don't add up-- because it was just too much work to go back and redo everything. (And, of course, often the earlier chapters of the draft had already been published.)
My writing hero, Diana Wynne Jones, always wrote her first drafts in longhand. Recently I read that “most” British authors do that. I don't know if it's true. It seems unlikely. After all, the need to produce gets in the way of writing longhand. You can't belt out 10k words a week, my preferred drafting speed, with a Bic.
On the other hand, if fewer revisions were necessary, a slower writing speed might be okay. And I notice that whenever I do write something longhand-- usually just a scenelet or a bit of dialogue-- it's something I really like, and it usually remains unchanged in the finished book.
So I'm going to try writing an entire book longhand. Not right now. But in a couple months, maybe, when I'm finished with the draft I'm working on. I'm going to do it not with the intent to sell, but just as a hobby piece, just to see what happens.
Anyone else want to try this?
Imagine that you've lost something without which you cannot write. Show yourself embarking on a quest to regain it, with or without a Stout Companion. Try to limit yourself to 150 words.
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