May 31, 2011

Finding What Works for You: Writing Longhand

Today, most writers use a computer to work. Why wouldn't you? It's faster and easier to edit.

At least, that's what your brain tells you.

I've been writing new scenes out by hand. (Crazy, I know.) It's been really helpful. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe my brain just has more time to throw out the junk words and cliches before my hand can write them out. Maybe I'm using a different part of the brain. Maybe my muse just likes writing by hand, so she throws out the good stuff when I cooperate. Who knows?

What I do know is that my writing is much richer. The settings come to life, the voice comes naturally, and the conflict is everywhere. (I also haven't gotten writer's block yet, knock on wood.) I hardly feel like I can take credit for it. It's like something takes over and gives better words to my pen.

After I get a few chapters down, I type up what I've written. I do a little editing in the process. Mostly, I make sure the rhythm is right and the descriptions aren't too long. Sometimes I catch a place where my character notices things she shouldn't (like when she's injured--why would she have the presence of mind to count the windows?) or where the villain gives too much information. (He likes to hold back a little. It makes him feel in control.) So this method works in more than one way.

It doesn't take as much time as I thought it would. I can type 4,000 words in one day without too much trouble. That's a crazy number of words if you're weaving a story from scratch.

I'd highly recommend it. Just to try. :)

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

I like to write by hand when I get writer's block. Writing on paper helps me get moving again. :D

Emily Casey said...

There's just something about it. The muse is powerless against longhand.

(Cute baby.)

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