Monday, 9 January 2012

Why I write, the way I write:

I’ve come to realise that sometimes I need to ponder my storylines before I even get anywhere close to committing them to paper. This process can take a few hours or a few days and dare I say it a few months.

But then again, perhaps that's procrastination?

Often I’ll day-dream my way through a sequence of events so that I can frame the story in the correct setting and place my characters in situ and watch their unfolding reactions before I begin the lengthy process of writing out a first draft long hand.

I prefer to write long hand because this is the fastest way I can commit words to paper.

Typing & thinking don’t work well for me as a simultaneous action because I’m not a natural or trained typist. (How I wish I’d done a Pitman & typing course at school because it would have been invaluable now.)

Once the draft is written, the hand written version is left to one side before I begin to type up a hard copy.

As I type I rarely change what I’ve written by hand preferring to see how the finished article looks like once it is typed up and spaced out on a page following standard layout.

Then if I feel it looks wrong I can begin messing around with the first copy to see if I can improve the original.

Without being fully aware I have probably already edited the piece from its original conception either by adding in more detail or subtly changing order of events, or a characters response.

The final editing process is often harder for me and this might be my failing, because usually I like what I've written especially if it bears a close resemblance to the original idea. However that doesn’t mean it's good writing or grammatically correct.

So I find that I have to read my work out loud and even better if one of my nieces will read it out loud back to me because then I can hear the clunky and lumpy sections or when the words sound misplaced.

Often my nieces act as copy editors which is fabulous because sometimes I can’t see the mistakes if I have worked too closely on a piece of work. If my brain makes the mistake first time out then it’s bound to repeat the same mistake again so having my work read to me is invaluable.

This may seem long winded to many other writers who can automatically commit their work by typing on a pc screen and if push comes to shove I can do this but if I’m honest I prefer the longer, slower method.

Which method do you prefer when writing?

I mean Barbara Cartland had six secretaries and a personal assistant so she only had to dictate an idea or thought as it entered her head and sadly I don’t have those resources.

1 comment:

  1. I start with long hand then switch to my computer. I generally don't write an entire story down on paper (just what's necessary). All of my ideas were started on paper (I must have a million scraps of paper laying around).