Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How We Write

By Linda Hall

Going along with Lynette’s excellent column yesterday on pantsing vs. plotting, I thought I would add my two cents: It used to be that when people would ask me ‘how’ I wrote, I would mumble an answer about outlining and plotting. But, I never did answer the question directly. Maybe I was just too embarrassed.

But after 17 books, I’ve decided to come clean about my methods. ☺ I write my manuscripts by hand. Yes, I know – that’s archaic in our age of technology when we should be beaming our thoughts to our computers and have them come out in legible and lyrical sentences - but it seems to work for me.

I think I need that kinetic movement of my hand to generate ideas from my brain to the paper. But the news isn't all bad – I know Shorthand from my news-reporting days. My first drafts tend to be illegible shorthand scrawls done with medium point gel pens on ‘good-one-side’ paper that I get from the 'recycle' bin at the University when my husband works.

After my first draft is written, I ‘read’ it into my computer using voice recognition software. I then print it off, and begin re-writing and revising, and adding more illegible (to everyone else) scrawls.

My point in all this is that each one of us has to come up with the writing process that works. It’s good to get ideas on ‘how’ to write. Then try them out. Use what does work and eliminate what doesn't work.


Jill Kemerer said...

My girlfriend writes all her novels by longhand too! Not me--my hands cramp up and my writing is not legible. I love typing (weird, huh?)

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Phinney said...

Linda, (nice photo, BTW), your method may be old school, but there is something to be said for reading it out loud to yourself early on, and catching all those mistakes. My first drafts are horrible messes.

Debra E Marvin said...

I have to admit that I think my brain really gets in gear when I have an old-fashioned pen in hand with a pad of paper. I do my best brainstorming that way and I can write like the wind.

Editing however is a whole 'nuther story. Then I really need that cut and paste and take a look and UNDO that would be a disaster on paper!


Linda said...

Sounds like a cool method with voice recognition on your computer and shorthand. Knew that would come in handy SOME day, right?