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View Full Version : If you had to do it on a--gulp--TYPEWRITER


gp101
11-19-2007, 05:51 PM
So we have the monthly (sometimes weekly) chat about outline vs freestyle, stream of conscienceness vs rigid plotline chats. ND to newbies on the board, but how many of you would stick to the "no outline at all costs" mentality if you had to produce your ms on a typewriter? No more cutting and pasting in seconds, no more deleting entire blocks unless you start over from the BEGINNING, no more quick corrections unless your trigger finger is steady with the white-out.

For those of you who have no idea what white-out is, or have no conception of a life without instant corrections, consider yourselves lucky.

Personal disclaimer: I'm an outliner, and I started my short-lived career in journalism in the late 80s with a Royal typewriter. Maybe that's why I'm an outliner.

But I'm interested... if you had to start your story from the beginning if you found enough errors in your story--or another direction in your story--that required you to start from the beginning, would you still shy away from adopting an outline even after your first draft? Rewriting 300 pages word-by-word gets old fast. I know I'd want a particular direction to go in.

Not trying to prove anything here. I realize it's a dead point considering we all have the ability to change our stories instantaneously, but what if you couldn't? How many true beginning-to-end revisions do you think you could handle? How many trees have we saved with the advent of computers/word processors? How many fewer people would be trying to become a writer if you had to use a typewriter?

When can we get a stickey RE: outlining vs no outlining, and another for word count?

NicoleMD
11-19-2007, 06:04 PM
Interesting question. I'd be just as likely to turn out perfect prose on a first draft on a typewriter as I would on a computer...which is to say no chance at all, so why worry about it? I don't think it would change my non-outlining ways one bit. A draft is a draft, no matter what my media. (I hand write a lot too.)

As for retyping everything, it's just another chance to catch stuff and revise. I'd probably hire someone to retype after the first couple times through though. And as for wasting paper...I'm the queen of that right now, so using a typewriter might actually save a tree for me.

Nicole

Doogs
11-19-2007, 06:18 PM
Considering I wrote my draft longhand, scratching away with pen and paper, this is sort of a moot point for me.

Revisions are another matter altogether. Although I am a rigid outliner, I couldn't imagine how long it would have to take to revise, rewrite, revise, rinse and repeat using either a pen OR a typewriter.

truelyana
11-19-2007, 06:23 PM
For me, the typewriter is a gateway to heaven. Although I've not touched mine in over a year and a half, I must admit it still stands here ever more beautifully then before. I feel more freer in terms of writing on the typewriter, then MS Word. I think the automated corrections on MS Word sometimes add to the long stop halts, and simultaneous outlines throughout the whole course of it. I actually feel a whole lot better using the typewriter, as the option of rewriting and revisions don't come into mind. It's interesting as it seems like MS Word is rather more of a barrier than the typewriter, and I use MS the most.

sunna
11-19-2007, 06:28 PM
I already outline, but I break ranks with my own plans far too often (and when I'm not doing it, my characters are).

No cut & paste? No *whimper* spellcheck, word count, and hyperlinked TOC? No backup to flash drive, CD and remote server? No track changes?


Eeeek.


I'd write longhand, in a notebook, with a pencil and a lot of stickies. I'd probably only type it when I'd gotten past the 4th draft.


Of course, I've never seen a typewriter up close, so I might need to take a class or something. :D

Azure Skye
11-19-2007, 06:40 PM
When I first started writing, I used a typewriter and I didn't even know how to type then. I was a hunter and peckerer, err...whatever. Anyway, I ended writing a lot by hand and if I wanted it to look pretty, I typed it up later which is what I think I would do in your scenario. It would still be difficult though since I do edits on hard copy. I do know one thing though: those edits would be so thorough that I would only make one pass. Yeah, typing up copy is my least favorite thing.

The computer has made it easier and I don't know what I would do without it. :::purrs and nuzzles computer:::

C.bronco
11-19-2007, 06:43 PM
But I'm interested... if you had to start your story from the beginning if you found enough errors in your story--or another direction in your story--that required you to start from the beginning, would you still shy away from adopting an outline even after your first draft? Rewriting 300 pages word-by-word gets old fast. I know I'd want a particular direction to go in.
I would hire a secretary.

preyer
11-19-2007, 06:51 PM
ditto the longhand.

FinbarReilly
11-19-2007, 06:53 PM
No outline? I'd do it longhand, no question...In fact, that's basically how I did my first script....

FR

Shadow_Ferret
11-19-2007, 07:02 PM
I'm not sure how an outline is connected with the writing instrument.

I started on a typewriter. I used a typewriter for over a decade. There were no computers.

I never outlined. I still don't outline.

The two aren't related.

Soccer Mom
11-19-2007, 07:23 PM
I started on a typewriter, but I usually composed on paper. And you know which camp to add me into (my siggie line says it all).

a_sharp
11-19-2007, 09:02 PM
I'm not sure how an outline is connected with the writing instrument.

I started on a typewriter. I used a typewriter for over a decade. There were no computers.

I never outlined. I still don't outline.

The two aren't related.

What Shadow_Ferret said, only longer with the typewriter. I was ever so glad to put that thing away, along with its clunky way of killing an idea before I could got it get it put it write it on papper paper. Where was I?

kuwisdelu
11-19-2007, 09:39 PM
I also don't see the connection. For me, anyway.

It would bother me that I couldn't go back and edit something that I'd just written, because I usually edit-as-I-go. I can't really go on with the manuscript until I'm satisfied with everything I've written so far. I'm not sure whether a typewriter would merely exacerbate this problem or be a cure for it. But I'm usually not the kind that needs to change whole sections for consistency, etc., just the kind that frets endlessly over a single sentence/paragraph/passage, so I still wouldn't use an outline. No need.

awatkins
11-19-2007, 09:50 PM
Oh, my...I well remember the days of typing page after page of story and then actually cutting the stuff apart with scissors and taping the paragraphs back together in more suitable combinations...then retyping the whole thing...and paying my little sister to count words for me. And then I got an electric typewriter! The speed made me delirious. lol

Love me my computer and printer, uh huh.

ETA: Outline vs no outline. Depends on what I'm writing and how well formed my ideas are before I sit down to work. Sometimes I outline, sometimes I don't. Mostly I don't. Was the same when I used a typewriter.

Not trying to prove anything here. I realize it's a dead point considering we all have the ability to change our stories instantaneously, but what if you couldn't? How many true beginning-to-end revisions do you think you could handle?

As many as it takes.

How many trees have we saved with the advent of computers/word processors?

Probably lots.

How many fewer people would be trying to become a writer if you had to use a typewriter?

That would depend on how badly the person wants to write. If one really wants to write, the machine, or lack of, won't stand in the way, IMO

LloydBrown
11-19-2007, 09:53 PM
I couldn't do it. At least, not with 10% of the speed, and that would frustrate me to no end.

JohnDavidPaxton
11-19-2007, 11:03 PM
As a rigid outliner, one who uses a great deal of strategery before I even write the first line, and have blueprints of motifs and arcs ready to go, I find it difficult to believe that someone who wings it wouldn't because of the medium.

If they had to do it on a typewriter and they found that they had to cut a lot out...they could just literally cut those parts out with scissors? I mean, crazy as it sounds, they could cut...with scissors...and paste...with glue.

I'd also argue that it's probably a good exercise for everyone to retype their story once they are done. Word for word. You learn things about what you wrote that way.

scarletpeaches
11-19-2007, 11:06 PM
What makes you think those of us who write freestyle make use of cut-and-paste? I never have. I just start at the beginning and write straight through to the end. Editing comes later so it makes no difference if I use a computer, typewriter or write longhand (and I've done all of the above).

Shadow_Ferret
11-19-2007, 11:09 PM
Exactly, I write the same on a typewriter as I do on a computer. Full out, pedal to the metal, leave the typos behind for the re-edit.

bluemoonscribe
11-20-2007, 12:31 AM
I would be better off writing them in long hand.

TrickyFiction
11-20-2007, 01:22 AM
I used to write longhand before typing it on a typewriter or one of those old word processors. I almost kind of miss doing it that way because it prevented me from making corrections while I wrote. Writing was writing, editing was editing, and the two rarely crossed paths. It was a simpler time. *sigh*

J. R. Tomlin
11-20-2007, 01:39 AM
So we have the monthly (sometimes weekly) chat about outline vs freestyle, stream of conscienceness vs rigid plotline chats. ND to newbies on the board, but how many of you would stick to the "no outline at all costs" mentality if you had to produce your ms on a typewriter? No more cutting and pasting in seconds, no more deleting entire blocks unless you start over from the BEGINNING, no more quick corrections unless your trigger finger is steady with the white-out.

I don't write like that anyway. Your assumption that anyone who writes without an outline writes carelessly or in a helter skelter fashion isn't correct. I rarely do any of those things.

Would I like composing on a typewriter. No, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I don't outline. Having to type a ms over numerous times from scratch (which you WILL have to do if you do thorough edits) isn't my idea of fun.

MMWyrm
11-20-2007, 01:42 AM
I do not outline. I write straight through from beginning to end on the first draft. Second draft? I actually type the whole thing again in the word file, making changes as I go. I catch more that way.

With a typewriter, I'd just type the whole thing again and again until I had it right. And my fingers would look like a weight lifter's arms.

DeleyanLee
11-20-2007, 04:57 AM
So we have the monthly (sometimes weekly) chat about outline vs freestyle, stream of conscienceness vs rigid plotline chats. ND to newbies on the board, but how many of you would stick to the "no outline at all costs" mentality if you had to produce your ms on a typewriter? No more cutting and pasting in seconds, no more deleting entire blocks unless you start over from the BEGINNING, no more quick corrections unless your trigger finger is steady with the white-out.

Ah, I wrote my first seven books on a Crown manual typewriter without a plot. Honestly, I miss it in some ways because it forced me to form ideas into concepts into words a lot better than word processing demands of me.

And, FWIW, erasable typing paper was the way to do it. White-Out took too long to dry and only electric typewriters had correction tape. LOL!

sunandshadow
11-20-2007, 01:01 PM
If I had to use a typewriter I'd write it out longhand first so I could scratch things out and scribble in note, and only type the final draft.

Elodie-Caroline
11-20-2007, 02:15 PM
So long as my arthritic neck and wrists could take it, I would write down the whole novel, freehand, before even attempting to type it out. I guess I'd be going through loads of correction fluid too :D


Elodie

Julie Worth
11-20-2007, 05:37 PM
...I think the automated corrections on MS Word sometimes add to the long stop halts...

You can turn those off. You can make your computer as much like a typewriter as you want, even to the click and clack.

larocca
11-20-2007, 05:43 PM
I wrote my first books on a typewriter, and it doesn't matter that they sucked. It's a poor musician who blames his instrument. I wrote everything longhand, where cut and paste still works as well as marking out. Once I thought I had it done, I typed it, hit the wrong keys, cussed...

I'm a typing class dropout -- it beats failing -- but I can manage 120 now, courtesy of a Royal manual just like Clark Kent used when George Reeves played the part. Mom bought it used (really?!) and gave it to me as an early Christmas gift so I could type my 10th grade research paper.

I never dropped it on my foot, luckily, or else I'd have invented brand new cuss words.

benbradley
11-20-2007, 06:01 PM
I recently got an IBM Selectric from the thrift store for $2, more for nostalgic reasons than anything else (and because they're "nice machines" - I'm sure John Robison can relate). I recall typing only a couple of pages on one back when they were whatever they cost new, but I knew it was The One To Have. I may pull out an IBM AT computer keyboard just for nostalgia, too - its layout most closely resembles the Selectic, with the big L-shaped enter/return key.

And it's only from reading some SF writers talk about how they wrote pre-computers that I know "cut and paste" meant using actual scissors to cut text apart, move paragraphs around, and then, well, paste to put them together on a new sheet of paper. So yes, it's possible to do "editing" without a computer.

These tools were the "best at the time" and lots of novels got written using them. I've even read some of those novels. I recall writing about a page of fiction with pen and paper, but that was decades ago, and with what little I remember of it, I'm fortunate I lost it.

larocca
11-20-2007, 06:07 PM
An IBM Selectric. When I got my secretarial job for an R&D/Engineering firm, I was surprised to learn that I had no computer. I eventually took care of that problem, but I still typed the checks on the IBM Selectric. I'd buy one for $2 just because, why not, but you may have trouble getting it repaired if it needs it. We happened to hire a guy in assembly who was an IBM Selectric repairman in a previous life and we didn't even know it. Luck.

Simple Living
11-20-2007, 07:13 PM
I was an adamant typist. I love to type. I type very quickly - nearly at the speed in which I think.

Most often, the first thought that pops into your head isn't the best one. If you can type quickly, that thought comes out without much, well, thought put into it. When you write your first draft by hand, your brain has more time to mull over the thought. Most often, the second, third or even fourth version of it to roll around your mind is the better version.

My writing has greatly improved for that precise reason. My brain has time, in that short delay from brain to hand to paper, to alter the original thought into something better - more usuable. As a result, I write better and edit less. That's why first drafts are so bad. They're very often the first thoughts the writer had and wrote.

Now, I'm adamant about writing my first drafts by hand and doing my editing and rewrites on the computer.

Ever see the movie Shadows in the Sun with Joshua Jackson and Harvey Keitel? I highly recommend it. Joshua's character is typing on a laptop and Harvey's character plops an old typewriter in front of him.

Joshua: What's this?

Harvey: What does it look like? It's a typewriter.

Joshua: I realize that. I mean, what's it for?

Harvey: To write with.

Joshua: Oh. I use a computer. It's easier.

Harvey: Writing isn't supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be hard. With a typewriter, you have to think more carefully about what you say. You can't just erase the words with a touch of a button. You need to think about what it is you're trying to say.

LilliCray
11-21-2007, 05:49 PM
...I miss my typewriter.

I kinda feel weird. I grew up in the computer age, but my first writing tool besides pen and paper was this fantastic typewriter... it was soooo cool.

Plus there are no games on it, or Internet, for that matter, so I wouldn't get distracted.

Ah, the days...

arodriguez
11-21-2007, 06:24 PM
its all about the dell inspiron 1720. its portable like a typewriter, costs thousands more than a typewriter(we all love spending money) and lets you browse teh internet wirelessly while brooding on your multiple manuscripts.

scarletpeaches
11-21-2007, 06:27 PM
My mother bought a typewriter when I was seven - Lord knows why; she's never written anything in her life. Perhaps it was for job applications or writing letters back home to my grandparents. Anyway, I used it far more than her. Trouble was, at the age of seven my fingers were so small they kept getting trapped between the keys of a split-level keyboard. That wouldn't happen now, but I still prefer using my laptop because the letters are all one one level; flat. However, I've added a program that makes keypresses sound like a typewriter.

DuffyMoon
06-14-2009, 03:22 AM
How many true beginning-to-end revisions do you think you could handle? How many trees have we saved with the advent of computers/word processors? How many fewer people would be trying to become a writer if you had to use a typewriter?


I'd bet way more trees are felled in this brave new digital world than ever were before. Think about it: when documents were painstakingly typewritten, if there was some slight revision, it was marked in pen on the original. Simply no way was a company or a person going to invest the kind of time needed to re-type the entire thing for one typo or one change.

Now, though, in the wonderful world of the Electronic Voodoo Boxes, where we're all in Paperless Offices (!) we make changes and re-print. If we don't like the way it looks, we make another change and re-print. We lost the first copy? No big deal! It's so easy just to re-print.

If a tree in the forest laughs at our "Paperless" new offices, and there's no one there to hear (maybe because we're all inside our cubicles surrounded by stacks of paper) does it make a sound?

cooeedownunder
06-14-2009, 03:35 AM
I first started writing with a typewritter and I miss it. A typewritter forced you to rewrite when it was easier to retype then cut and past with actual glue. Being able to delete and move sections around in word can sometimes take away the creativity that came from the constantly needing to retype.

I still sometimes print out the entire piece and retype if from start to finish, especially if I have became stuck in moving forward. It helps me sees gaps, and now with the word processin technology it doesn't take long to put it back into shape.

ClaudiaGray
06-14-2009, 04:25 AM
I'd rather type it than write longhand, but I'm glad it remains a hypothetical question!

mkcbunny
06-14-2009, 06:52 AM
If I didn't have a computer, I'd probably do more longhand. But I don't think my outline process would change. I start off writing without an outline, but very quickly, as the overall arcs being to form, I build outlines and updates them.

What would probably change a lot is the editing process. I think I'd do a lot more rewriting on paper before I typed the whole thing out again from scratch. And I suspect that a pair of scissors and a lot of tape would be involved.

Chasing the Horizon
06-14-2009, 06:55 AM
Actually, my writing technique would be perfect for writing with a typewriter. I outline extensively, then write my first draft very, very carefully so it's as good as I can make it. Then I do one pass of editing and that's it. I would still have to type it twice with a typewriter (first draft, edited draft), but it wouldn't be as bad as it could be.

However, I'm quite certain that without a 'delete' button and the internet for research, I would've been too intimidated by the process to ever start in the first place.

Cassiopeia
06-14-2009, 07:13 AM
ah...for the gentle hum of the old IBM Selectric typewriter and the clacking sound of it's keys. I remember those days. I didn't bother with white out, I jus retyped and retyped and retyped.

I don't do anything by hand except journals and poetry. So for my novel, I'd just type it all up without editing anything to the end. Get out my red pen and go after my WIP and then retype it from scratch. It may be tedious but it was a culture.

ETA: I would consider my first draft the outline. Otherwise no outlining for me.

Matera the Mad
06-14-2009, 07:25 AM
If I had to use a clunker, I wouldn't be writing.

rugcat
06-14-2009, 07:37 AM
I started on a typewriter. I'm a four finger typist. The difference in my writing process was mostly that I thought a lot longer and harder before I wrote down a sentence.

Word processors are great, but i believe they made getting published more difficult. Without computers, agents and editors wouldn't be wading through hundreds of mss a month to find a good one-- there'd be a self winnowing process. It takes a certain amount of seriousness and a large investment in time and dedication to produce a clean four hundred page typed ms -- esp if you don't type very well.

Cassiopeia
06-14-2009, 07:39 AM
rc, I type on average 90-120 words on a word processor and yet it still takes me forever to work on my WIP because I find myself stuck in the old habit from my typewriter days of carefully weighing my words.

I HATE editing. :D

ccv707
06-14-2009, 08:41 AM
I LOVE typewriters! I have a program on my computer that makes a typewriter key sound when I type. Love it, probably more for the aesthetic quality.

Geez, I found an awesome site that sells restored typewriters for pretty good prices, considering how old some of them are. I plan to buy a Royal Aristocrat c. 1941, think it runs for about $400, plus shipping. It would probably be too much of a hassle to write an entire novel-length ms on it, but I want to use it for short stories and perhaps a couple novellas.

The one negative to using it would probably be the effect it would have on my speed. I'm a four finger typist, cruise around 100 wpm...not quite possible on one of those, but you gotta love the sound of those keys being punched. Oh, that's the good stuff.

James D. Macdonald
06-14-2009, 10:02 AM
The reason "cut and paste" is called "cut and paste" is because that's how we used to do it. And that's why typing services existed.

I know one (highly prolific) author who started in typewriter days and still writes the entire book end-to-end, then writes the second draft from memory.

And revision got tight when the question in your mind was is this scene worth re-typing? Do I care that much about it?

Here's a trick I learned back in typewriter days: Back the sheet you're typing on with a second sheet that has the margins drawn on it with heavy black marker. You'll be able to see them through the top sheet. That will help keep the page neat, and help keep you from typing past the bottom of the page.

(Another advantage of typewriters: Short of a house fire you could not accidentally lose your entire novel.)

extortionist
06-14-2009, 10:48 AM
So for my novel, I'd just type it all up without editing anything to the end. Get out my red pen and go after my WIP and then retype it from scratch. It may be tedious but it was a culture.
I do this even with a computer. Am I alone?

I don't think using a typewriter would change my writing process much if at all (I tend to outline heavily), except the first draft would have a typo every other word. Not that I'm bad at spelling, I'm just an awful typist.

James D. Macdonald
06-14-2009, 11:09 AM
I do this even with a computer. Am I alone?



No. I do all my editing on hard-copy with a red pencil.

The computer is an automatic typing machine, that's all.

Salis
06-14-2009, 11:27 AM
I think the worst thing about writing on computers is that computers have all these fantastic things to distract you with... and the internet made that ten times worse. Maybe that's just a result of my weak resolve, but there you go.

So, if I was writing on a typewriter, I suspect I'd be much more prolific in general, but the whole process (editing, rewriting, etc) would be painfully slower.

rugcat
06-14-2009, 11:42 AM
No. I do all my editing on hard-copy with a red pencil.Me too. But editors are going paperless, requesting changes be made to the file with the track changes option.

So now, I have to print out the file onto hard copy, do the edits with a pencil, and then type them back into the ms copy and email it back. Not exactly a timesaver.

Ever try proofreading off a screen?

Salis
06-14-2009, 11:46 AM
Ever try proofreading off a screen?

Actually, this is how I do 99% of my proofreading. I'm not sure I'd say I'm *better* at it on screen than on paper, but it's about the same.

I'm curious how old the people who prefer paper proofing are compared to those who don't care. I don't have a solid opinion yet, but it might be one of those habits that is generational. I pretty much grew up with a computer in my lap, and don't mind reading off a screen for hours (which I know some people despise), but maybe I'm just a crazy exception.

rugcat
06-14-2009, 11:54 AM
I'm curious how old the people who prefer paper proofing are compared to those who don't care. I don't have a solid opinion yet, but it might be one of those habits that is generational. You may well be right. I grew up with paper, and I hate even reading off a screen, much less proofing.

Cassiopeia
06-14-2009, 12:10 PM
I prefer editing on the screen. I do print off a copy the closer I get to a final edit. But my first and second draft are definitely on the screen.

cooeedownunder
06-14-2009, 12:12 PM
I also still proof read off screen and pull out the red pen for edits. I find reading it this way, and being able to lay back in bed or on the lounge, without cords a plus. And no, I am not writing erotica material.

mercs
06-14-2009, 01:10 PM
When I write it's more a quick attempt at getting everything down and summarised before going back, turning it into a story, and then going back four or five times to iron out the flaws, grammar errors, confusing or unneeded sentances. Even then I normally get a copy off lulu to have a final read through to see if i spot something that's not on the screen.

A typewriter would kill me as I would be using half a rainforest for each draft as I go backwards and forwards checking things out and adding things here and there...

cooeedownunder
06-14-2009, 01:16 PM
Ah, but that was the fun of it.

megan_d
06-14-2009, 01:27 PM
I wouldn't even know how to feed paper into a typewriter, but I will admit the romanticism of writing a novel on a typewriter appeals to me.

Blue Sky
06-14-2009, 06:49 PM
Typing: a royal pain in the butt overall. Computers are so nice. Why can't we design a screen that reads like print on paper?

But it was fun too. I remember considering my thoughts and words carefully, typing it all out (got a lot faster as time went by), cutting and laying different things all over the floor, trying different combinations. I used a backing page with dark margins, as Jim mentioned. It was supposed to save the roll too. Didn't ever check the truth of that advice. I only had access to manual typewriters for writing purposes.

The Selectrics were the cat's meow. I used them later on. Ooo, the correction ribbon.... The first time I encountered a Selectric, I typed and corrected repeatedly, laughing hysterically. Too many late nights with white-out, I'm afraid.

For me, the first edit is the time for hard copy. Maybe it's a habit from the old typewriter days? When I'm slashing and burning, contrasting color on paper remains my favorite. Subsequent edits go smoothly on the screen.

James D. Macdonald
06-14-2009, 08:13 PM
Kids these days!

I bet they don't remember when photocopies came out white-on-black, so to get a black-on-white copy you'd have to make a copy of the copy!

And carbon paper! How about carbon paper, especially when you found out you'd put it in backwards!

And Corrasable Bond. You know how all the writing books told you not to submit your manuscripts on Corrasable Bond? I bet you can't even buy it these days!

Uphill! In the snow! Twice a day! You kids don't know how easy you have it!

(Pounds cane on floor. Adjusts ear trumpet.)

A.R. Starr
06-14-2009, 08:21 PM
I have some very fond memories of my dad typing his short stories on a typewriter, although I wouldn't want to use one. I'm too prone to making spelling errors and retyping a ruinned page would drive me insane.

I remember when, instead of the internet, there were bulletin boards that required huge amounts of fiddling and a constantly running computer for people to connet to. My dad had one for his business, before becoming one of the first non-universities to have a web page on the net. *smile* Amazing how far the net's come since those early days.

KTC
06-14-2009, 08:43 PM
I'd put paper in the typewriter and start from the beginning. I would keep adding paper until I go the The End.

Fokker Aeroplanbau
06-14-2009, 09:11 PM
I would like the idea, hate the execution of it.

mkcbunny
06-14-2009, 10:54 PM
I remember the dual-color typewriter ribbons: black and red, or black and white-correction. The latter was to typing what Snow Leopard is to the Mac. LOL.

Ahhhh, carbon paper ... and mimeograph machines ...

I love doing writing, cut-and-pasting, and actual editing on a computer. I make so many corrections and changes that I think it saves me a lot of time. But I do all of my lengthy reading and mark-ups on hard copy with a red pen, a pack of Post-Its, and a highlighter. I want to read the book on paper and make notes by hand, and I also like to read outside or in places away from the computer. Aside from being more comfortable doing the corrections by hand, I think that reading the novel in a form other than the one you wrote it in makes errors easier to spot.

The Lonely One
06-14-2009, 10:59 PM
I enjoy my typewriter as a tool to cage my editor brain and write for short bouts of time.

Write an entire novel draft on one? I respect those who have. I respectfully decline to do so myself.

DuffyMoon
06-15-2009, 01:23 AM
There's a whole lot of us that have done NaNoWriMo on a typewriter. I think, without exception, those who did it were surprised at the fact that it wasn't this enormously difficult task. Some of us - myself included - were actually surpised that it made NaNoWriMo easier to finish.

Some advantages noted:
1) No Blue Screen of Death
2) No Solitaire to suck you in
3) No Intertubes to steal away all your writing time
4) If you're using a manual machine, you don't need to plug it in: it's Green! (And if we're even a little bit honest, most of us who have written first drafts of novels on PCs or Macs have - the moment we typed the end - immediately clicked on *Print* so we could have a hard copy. That's no way to save a tree. But then, to compound it, we made some corrections, maybe added some stuff at the beginning or end, then hit *Print* again. And again. And again. No such easy tree-slaughter on a typewriter. The enormous task of re-typing really forces you to be careful and methodical about that first rewrite. Which, for a lot of people, probably makes for a better finished product. And less tree-slaughter. Next time you charge up your laptop, think about some imaginary fella down at the power station, shoveling in an extra shovelful of coal for the electricity needed for your novel-writing, and how that one extra shovelful - in a for-want-of-a-nail-the-shoe-was-lost sort of way - leads directly to that cute little orphan polar bear crying its sweet little black eyes out, or the briney ocean water creeping up on your favorite port city, or whatever climate change horror scenario you choose to imagine.)
5) It just plain feels good to type on a manual machine.
6) It sounds good, too.
7) It forces you to Stay In The Moment, and Keep Moving Forward, and several other cross-stitch sampler quotes that might be appropriate for writers to internalize. It forces you to surrender to the reality that your first draft is going to have major, horrific flaws, and that NOW is not the time to deal with those. NOW is the time to get the story onto the paper in some fashion - however flawed - so that you have something to improve on subsequent edits and re-writes.

Of course, as in everything, Your Mileage May Vary.

But wouldn't you like to try? Six bucks and a trip to the local thrift store isn't too much to wager, is it?

James D. Macdonald
06-15-2009, 02:33 AM
Want to get extra mileage out of your typewriter ribbons? Spray 'em with WD-40.

Cassiopeia
06-15-2009, 02:35 AM
Some advantages noted:

4) If you're using a manual machine, you don't need to plug it in: it's Green!
oh ho! Now I have the excuse I've been looking for to go spend 50 bucks on the amazing antique typewriter that I've been eyeing for two years at the local antique shop. It's in working order, no keys missing and I've lusted after it all this time but not being able to justify the purchase.

thanks :D

Aggy B.
06-15-2009, 02:49 AM
Eh.

I used a typewriter for a while in my teens. It was very slow.

I like writing longhand. And I like my laptop. If I had to use a typewriter I would probably be writing the rough draft with pen and paper. Not because the typewriter is an awful thing (it is not) but I can't type nearly fast enough on one for rough draft purposes. I can't really write longhand fast enough either, but it's still quicker.

With my laptop my fingers can fly, almost no physical effort involved. That gives my fingers a fighting chance to keep up with my brain.

An electric typewriter might change my mind. (All I've ever used were manual.)

DuffyMoon
06-15-2009, 02:49 AM
oh ho! Now I have the excuse I've been looking for to go spend 50 bucks on the amazing antique typewriter that I've been eyeing for two years at the local antique shop. It's in working order, no keys missing and I've lusted after it all this time but not being able to justify the purchase.

thanks :D

Glad I could help! Plus, you'll have saved several pounds of good American steel from a rusty fate in the local landfill. And maybe staved off some carpal tunnel syndrome in your own hands (never heard much about carpal tunnel in the pre-PC past, did we?).

Ken Schneider
06-15-2009, 05:08 AM
What I liked about writing on a typewriter, was the fact that you couldn't edit. You just wrote your story without interruption.

When one page was done it went on the pile and you kept writing.

It kept you focused on the story versus edit as you go.

roseangel
06-15-2009, 05:45 AM
I had a typewriter once, I was 8, I loved it to pieces.
It was only 5$ at Desert Industries, where my dad worked, the carbon paper moved about, the keys stuck and it would sometimes mangle the paper, but I loved my typewriter...
That was 16 years ago though, and I have no idea what happened to my typewriter.
Currently I write out my first drafts by hand and type them up on my pc after the rest period, though I would love to have a typewriter again...

5bcarnies
06-15-2009, 06:18 AM
When I first started writing poetry, that would later get published in my teens, I used my grandmother's electric typewriter. I loved the whirly sound of the motor, the fact that every other sound was drowned out by it and the kuching at the end of every line. LOVED IT!!!

Now, I loosely outline for plot purposes and then let the characters have at it. If another major blackout occured right now like it did on the east coast, what, five years ago; I would run down to the local mom and pop store and buy a typewriter. For no other reason than to get as much done before my hand cramps up.

Chumplet
06-15-2009, 06:38 AM
I have the image of Jerry Lewis (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7ySmnxy29Q) floating in front of my eyes.

Vito
06-15-2009, 07:17 AM
I wrote my entire M.A. thesis -- approx. 300 pages -- on a typewriter. It was an electric typewriter, not that that makes any real difference. What a drag! :e2bummed:

James D. Macdonald
06-15-2009, 07:32 AM
Typewriter sound effects for your PC: http://jingle-keyboard.uxus-software.qarchive.org/

Scribhneoir
06-15-2009, 09:15 AM
And carbon paper! How about carbon paper, especially when you found out you'd put it in backwards!

I've never even seen carbon paper. Thanks, Uncle Jim! You've made me feel soooo young. :snoopy:

James D. Macdonald
06-15-2009, 09:49 AM
Hey, remember ironing your manuscripts when they came back from a publisher with a rejection, so they'd look fresh and clean when you sent them on to the next publisher? Because otherwise you'd have to re-type the whole thing?

Remember when the guidelines always said "No photocopies or carbons"?

When the manuscript was out on submission the carbon was all you had....

blacbird
06-15-2009, 09:54 AM
Remember when Charles Dickens had to do it with a quill pen and an inkwell?

caw

James D. Macdonald
06-15-2009, 10:34 AM
No, I don't remember when Dickens used a quill. But I have made my own quill pens, and have written (and rather enjoy) writing with steel dip-pens and with fountain pens.

The first writer to submit a typewritten manuscript was Mark Twain.

(And, if you're interested, Herman Melville had notoriously bad penmanship.)

jenelcc
06-15-2009, 11:02 AM
I once wrote a poem on the back of an auto parts receipt with a pen that had to be shaken and cussed at every five seconds. I would write regardless of the ease of the instrument.

As for outlining and fiction - I never outline on paper. I outline in my head and I keep detailed notes as I write of names, descriptions, places etc, but I've never outlined on paper, part of the joy of writing for me is the adventure of it.

When I write academically or professionally I outline, because it's an entirely different thought process for me. I actually think that this difference of methodology is what allows me to write fiction even when I'm swamped with academic/professional work. It's such different and enjoyable experience that I love doing it.

blacbird
06-15-2009, 11:04 AM
Herman Melville had notoriously bad penmanship.

Maybe I have a chance after all.

caw

Blue Sky
06-15-2009, 02:24 PM
I once wrote a poem on the back of an auto parts receipt with a pen that had to be shaken and cussed at every five seconds. I would write regardless of the ease of the instrument.

Me too. In pre-PC days, the alternatives were found only in places like the Jetsons cartoon and Science Fiction. I laugh and shake my head at the technological leap we have made.

Jeez, carbon paper. The chill I felt when I realized that my freshly typed, errorless page was one-of-a-kind--backwards again. Damn!

I remember the WD-40 trick, although I never tried it. I typed a lot, but not an entire book at a time. (This trick might have made the difference during that much typing, stores closed or money tight.)

But I have made my own quill pens, and have written (and rather enjoy) writing with steel dip-pens and with fountain pens.

Letters to friends and family were my last holdout to fall beneath the email Juggernaut. I used to write with fountain pen on top-grade writing paper. Last year while goofing around drawing, I discovered that I love to draw with a fountain pen. I plan to explore quill pens as well.

DesertDog
06-15-2009, 09:53 PM
I always outline. It's 2 sentences. One for the beginning, and one for the ending. It's all that other stuff in the middle that gets me tangled up....

caitysdad
06-16-2009, 02:13 AM
omg, i would spend $10,000 a year on paper and $20,000 on ink ribbons.

Delhomeboy
06-16-2009, 04:08 AM
omg, i would spend $10,000 a year on paper and $20,000 on ink ribbons.

Ebay to the rescue.

mkcbunny
06-16-2009, 08:13 AM
Hey, remember ironing your manuscripts when they came back from a publisher with a rejection, so they'd look fresh and clean when you sent them on to the next publisher? Because otherwise you'd have to re-type the whole thing?

Remember when the guidelines always said "No photocopies or carbons"?

When the manuscript was out on submission the carbon was all you had....

When you think about this, it's just crazy! No copies? And now we all make our own "copies" at home on individual printers.

blacbird
06-16-2009, 09:36 AM
Hey, remember ironing your manuscripts when they came back from a publisher with a rejection, so they'd look fresh and clean when you sent them on to the next publisher? Because otherwise you'd have to re-type the whole thing?

Remember when the guidelines always said "No photocopies or carbons"?

When the manuscript was out on submission the carbon was all you had....

I don't remember ironing, but I do remember stomping on some of them. And using some for kindling. After which, carbon was all I had.

caw

misa101
06-16-2009, 08:15 PM
So we have the monthly (sometimes weekly) chat about outline vs freestyle, stream of conscienceness vs rigid plotline chats. ND to newbies on the board, but how many of you would stick to the "no outline at all costs" mentality if you had to produce your ms on a typewriter? No more cutting and pasting in seconds, no more deleting entire blocks unless you start over from the BEGINNING, no more quick corrections unless your trigger finger is steady with the white-out.

.

I do all first drafts with a pen and paper so I can't see how a typewriter would encourage me to outline. It would however encourage me to hire someone to transcribe my work because my typing skills leave a lot to be desired.

CaroGirl
06-16-2009, 08:20 PM
I did it on a typewriter once. I didn't like it. I had key impressions and ink blots all over my back for weeks.