The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

My first blog!  Though I have guested on a couple before but this is the first of my own.  I’ve no great scheme for the blog, it’ll consist of whatever I feel like writing about each week (I do intend to keep them fresh by updating them every week – honest – watch this space).  So the entries will likely be a mish-mash of musings on life as a writer and life in general with references to any other blogs or articles that I hope people might find interesting.

I thought I’d start with the process of writing, the actual nuts and bolts and declare that I write longhand – with a pen, on paper.  Strange but true.  When this came up in conversation with a publisher recently, she said she didn’t know any authors who did that – and she must encounter dozens of writers through her work.  Of course I don’t submit anything in longhand, otherwise I’d never have been published, there is a process of typing up my first handwritten draft which also serves as an editing stage.  But for me, getting the prose down on paper is the most organic and productive way of writing, it holds true for planning my novels too and sketching out back stories or character biogs, for writing short stories or flash fiction.  It’s a different matter if I’m working on a screenplay or radio script, I type those straight into whichever formatting programme I’m using.  I’m not completely sure why that feels okay, whether it’s the relative paucity of words, or the fact that the material is a blend of brief dialogue and pragmatic stage directions with little scope for scribbling in the margins and waxing lyrical, going off on a tangent or whatever.  Though even with scripts, if I have a particularly weighty or emotional scene to write I will instinctively reach for pad and pen to get to grips with it.  (Just for comparison a radio play is around 8,000 words while a novel may be ten times as many – and with radio and TV a story outline has already been thrashed out whereas a novel is still being discovered in the process of writing).   At the end of the day all writers find out what works for them, which tools best serve their purpose – I’ve begun to use speech recognition software for the typing up stage.  More on that in another blog.  Now, back to the book.