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Virector
07-30-2008, 03:02 PM
Hey, guys! I just wanted to hear your thoughts on writing and typing. Is it important to actually write your book (as in pen to paper) or is it perfectly fine to begin and end the writing process on a computer? Do you feel it is important/unimportant to actually write your initial draft on paper before you start typing anything, and why? The thing is, a friend of mine seems to think that if you don't 'write' the story and type it on a computer, you just didn't actually... 'write'... I'm not sure if I'm making much sense, but this got me thinking that's why I'd like to hear some thoughts about this. I remember that while I was watching a J.K. Rowling documentary, they showed the actual hard copy of where she was actually 'writing' the Potter books. Is this what should be expected of writers, or will a copy of your work on your hard drive suffice?

JimmyB27
07-30-2008, 03:37 PM
I think your friend is wrong. You do it however you want. For me, that means notes hand-written with a fountain pen in a series of notebooks, and typing the actual story on a computer.
You have to type it up eventually anyway for submission. I don't think an editor/agent is likely to demand the original, hand-written copy from you as evidence that you are a 'proper' writer (whatever that means).

Orchid
07-30-2008, 03:39 PM
I don't really think it matters.

I never write by hand. My handwriting is terrible if I write quickly, and I end up spending hours squinting at a page wondering whether it's a 'm' or double 'n'. I also loose things quite often, I put something down and forget where I put it.

I am must faster at typing, it looks neater and I know where the file is.

And agents will demand a typed copy, which means it must at some point be put on the computer. However, when typing they are probably also editing the piece. So it's not wasted time.

Also, some people find it easier to write by paper. A friend of mine says she looses her inspiration when she writes on screen. And, having read a piece she wrote by hand and on the computer, their is a huge difference between the quality of them. However, I think that's more psychological. She probably believes she can write better by hand, therefore she does.

But to me, it isn't that important. It doesn't matter to me whether other people write or type. As long as it works for the person and the book get's finished, then I don't think it really matters.

Oh, and technically typing is a method of writing. Therefore, I'm still writing a story, just not with pen and paper. Cambridge dictionary agrees with me.


write
1. to make marks which represent letters, words or numbers on a surface, such as paper or a computer screen, using a pen, pencil or keyboard, or to use this method to record thoughts, facts or messages.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=91728&dict=CALD

smoothseas
07-30-2008, 03:45 PM
both. though I prefer using my computer.

Mr Flibble
07-30-2008, 04:33 PM
I write (alomst) everything on the PC. My brain works faster than my pen and paper writing ability, so if I do write down a few notes I have to spend ten minutes deciphering my own handwriting. Is that a g? or a y? What the hell is that word?

Basically your friend does it how he wants to. Good for him. Now you do it how you want to.

If doing it in Word isn't writing, how did my MS come into being? Binary fission?

KTC
07-30-2008, 04:35 PM
I almost never use pen/pencil and paper. I used to...but I love my laptop and now use it pretty much exclusively.

Bubastes
07-30-2008, 04:36 PM
The thing is, a friend of mine seems to think that if you don't 'write' the story and type it on a computer, you just didn't actually... 'write'.

Whoa, your friend's kidding, right? I write my non-fiction first drafts on the computer and my fiction first drafts by hand. It's all writing. In the end, does it really matter how you got the words on paper? Do what works for you.

Mumut
07-30-2008, 05:01 PM
I used to write with pen and paper. I also found that I'd thought things out a bit more when I came to typing it all out and I'd make changes then. It was quite useful doing it that way and I admit I like writing with pen and ink. But I now have a laptop and type it in from the start. It hasn't made any difference to quality, though. I re-read as often as I used to do - I just save the few hundred trees a month. (Just think if you wrote on parchment. A calf would die for every eight pages!)

san_remo_ave
07-30-2008, 05:09 PM
I use a keyboard for writing --everything goes straight into my computer or AlphaSmart --writing, editing, everything. My handwriting is awful and my hand cramps quickly.

Good for your friend if s/he prefers to write longhand, but it's not for everyone.

Didn't Hemingway use a typewriter to write? Seems I recall seeing some drafts at Hemingway House in Key West.

DeleyanLee
07-30-2008, 05:14 PM
And some of us are physically incapable of holding a pen long enough to write a page, so some form of computer is our only option.

How you get words down on paper isn't what writing is all about. Writing is about taking the story and images in your head and putting it all into words so another person can get the same story and images into their head. Computer, pen, vocal-recognition, quill, hammer & chisel--those are just tools used in writing. As long as the goal is accomplished, it's all about what works for the individual.

Phaeal
07-30-2008, 05:25 PM
Whenever someone tells you "This is the only way to do it," run away. That person is a mind-killer.

Write whichever way suits you better. I much prefer the computer -- God, it's the greatest thing since papyrus! Write a sentence. Instantly tweak it. Or delete it. Or move it to the paragraph above, or to a paragraph a hundred pages back. Revision? No biggie. No cutting up pages. No tape. No retyping. Brilliant!

Oh, and you can put copies out in your email folders for safekeeping. Or on thumbdrives or disks or all of the above. No more losing MSS to fire or flood or careless housecleaners. Bliss.

stormie
07-30-2008, 05:31 PM
Ever since I was a teenager, my hands cramp up after writing for awhile. I prefer typing it out on the computer. Once in awhile, if I'm away from the computer, I'll handwrite some notes or a portion of the essay or story. Besides, it'll eventually have to be typed up. (And most likely the famous authors, if their work is handwritten, can pay someone to type it for them before submitting it to their agent or editor.)

CreativeFae
07-30-2008, 05:32 PM
I have to say that I can't actually write....my arthritus starts acting up after only a few lines, so I do all my work on the computer. I think that writing a book or a novel or a song has nothing to do with pen and paper and everything to do with getting your work out there for others to see. Also, you can look at it from a more "enviromentally friendly" perspective....you're not using paper if you're doing your work on the computer....ah, the backspace is a wonderful thing. ;)

Toothpaste
07-30-2008, 06:30 PM
That is one of the silliest things I've ever read! Your friend truly believes this? That unless you hand write something you haven't written it? The only reason writing by hand ever existed was because it was the only way to get words onto paper once upon a time. Now most every author I know uses a computer. There are some who prefer to still write by hand, which is cool, but it doesn't make them more of a writer than those who don't. There is a very famous author in Canada, Jean Little, who is blind, and can't actually do any of the physical writing herself. Does that make her less of a writer? Should we tell that school that was named after her that she is a fraud?

Like what others have said, almost anyone who gives you absolutes in the writing world is worthy of suspicion. Do what makes you comfortable. For me I can type as quickly as I can think, so when I write on the computer it's like my thoughts are pouring onto the screen. When I write by hand, my hand cramps, my penmanship is so horrible I can't read what I wrote later on. I consider myself a real writer despite that.

Honestly, of all the things to worry about . . .

DragonHeart
07-30-2008, 06:35 PM
I have a hard time writing on paper. Being left-handed, notebook spines are awkward to maneuver around and I tend to smear both ink and graphite across the side of the page. Don't have that problem with computers. :) Besides, I don't want to use paper if I don't have to. My small contribution to planet-saving, even if it's only a few trees that escape the heel of my carbon foot.

~DragonHeart~

C.M.C.
07-30-2008, 06:36 PM
I couldn't imagine the searing pain in my wrist if I tried to write 75-100,000 words by hand. No thanks.

Claudia Gray
07-30-2008, 06:36 PM
I write almost entirely on computer. Sometimes I brainstorm/outline on paper, but all my books are written computer-only. That's how I work best. J.K. Rowling and others handwrite because that's how they work best. Use whatever method works for you; your friend doesn't know what he's talking about.

ivorywhisper
07-30-2008, 06:42 PM
I prefer typing since like a lot of people already pointed, my handwriting is awful!! Is that a common writer thing I wonder? I used to have nice handwriting when i was younger but as i began to write more and have more ideas, my handwriting started sucking as well. I can't decipher my own writing :( . That being said, I do like to have pen and paper around just in case I get a brilliant idea and im away from my laptop. Most of the time though, pen and paper is only for rough ideas and not actually writing. I second what everyone says, do what comes naturally to you!!

ivorywhisper
07-30-2008, 06:44 PM
I have a hard time writing on paper. Being left-handed, notebook spines are awkward to maneuver around and I tend to smear both ink and graphite across the side of the page. Don't have that problem with computers. :) Besides, I don't want to use paper if I don't have to. My small contribution to planet-saving, even if it's only a few trees that escape the heel of my carbon foot.

~DragonHeart~

Have you tried the left handed notebooks for when you write with pen and paper? My husband is left handed and that's all he uses,lol.i didnt even know they existed before!

DragonHeart
07-30-2008, 06:55 PM
No, I usually just flip the notebook over and write with it upside-down. It isn't pretty but it works. I've never heard of nor seen left-handed notebooks before.

~DragonHeart~

DeleyanLee
07-30-2008, 07:07 PM
There's also notebooks with the spiral binding at the time. I'm right handed, but I've always loved those.

willietheshakes
07-30-2008, 07:32 PM
For me (and as... everyone... has already said, it comes down to personal preference): I type all of my journalism, reviews, etc. directly to the computer. I find that the computer, and the way I relate to it, lends itself to this sort of analytical writing.

For the fiction, though, I write longhand. Fountain pen. In notebooks (NOT looseleaf). I find that I feel a different connection to the work writing longhand, and that the act of physically, literally writing uses a different connection to my brain (and/or a connection to a different part of my brain, I'm not sure which).

(Of course, despite my best intentions, I then find myself with a stack of notebooks to type out. That's fine when it's a short story or novella, but, well, the new novel is 300,000+ words at present, and considering the general illegibility of my handwriting, the task is a tad onerous...)

eveningstar
07-30-2008, 08:18 PM
Pens, pencils, paper, typewriters, word processors, laptops, those little recorders that take dictation... aren't they all just tools? How can you possibly differentiate text that originated through one from another? Writing is writing is writing.

I type faster than I write by hand, so I tend to do long drafts and in-depth pieces on my computer. I use paper notebooks (several different ones) for brainstorming ideas, notes, little bits of dialogue or details that I just need to jot down.

tehuti88
07-30-2008, 08:27 PM
The thing is, a friend of mine seems to think that if you don't 'write' the story and type it on a computer, you just didn't actually... 'write'...

:roll:

TECHNICALLY, if you do it straight from computer, it isn't writing, but you've still written a story. It's just you didn't participate in the PHYSICAL act of writing words down on paper. And honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't make a story any lesser. Typing is just a modern-day form of writing. Before there was writing, there was the spoken language. People still told stories even if they weren't writing them down.

I have to do my writing on the computer for the simple reason that I'd have to type it up on here anyway, in order to share it online, and to type up a bunch of stuff I wrote on paper is just too tedious and time consuming. Not to mention the fact that my poor hand can't keep up with my brain, and the eraser can hardly suffice when one needs the backspace key!

I don't consider myself "not really a writer" because I don't actually write the words on paper first. (I have plenty of other reasons to worry that I'm "not really a writer," but that isn't one of them!)

Inkspill
07-30-2008, 11:21 PM
I can't write fast enough--I type about 85WPM, but my handwriting is slow and not quite neat. I love typing (which is kind of ironic, considering I *hated* it when I started to learn) and write almost always on my laptop, except when my battery runs out or I need to jot down a quick idea.

Alpha Echo
07-30-2008, 11:31 PM
Hey, guys! I just wanted to hear your thoughts on writing and typing. Is it important to actually write your book (as in pen to paper) or is it perfectly fine to begin and end the writing process on a computer? Do you feel it is important/unimportant to actually write your initial draft on paper before you start typing anything, and why? The thing is, a friend of mine seems to think that if you don't 'write' the story and type it on a computer, you just didn't actually... 'write'... I'm not sure if I'm making much sense, but this got me thinking that's why I'd like to hear some thoughts about this. I remember that while I was watching a J.K. Rowling documentary, they showed the actual hard copy of where she was actually 'writing' the Potter books. Is this what should be expected of writers, or will a copy of your work on your hard drive suffice?

Wow. I've never head any such thing, and I imagine if that were true there would be a lot more writers who didn't...well...write.

I love to handwrite things. I handwrite letters sometimes, mostly to my husband. I love a clean sheet of paper, and I love the way it feels to drag the pen across it. I don't know why.

However, the only time I've ever handwritten a WIP was when I worked as a receptionist and literally had nothing on my desk except for the phone. No computer.

Now, I can't imagine writing it all out. Sometimes, if all I have access to is a pen and paper and I have a flash of inspiration, I jot it down. But I love my laptop, and I don't think I'm not a "writer" because of that.

Virector
07-30-2008, 11:36 PM
Thanks everyone! I personally have, and I quote, "remarkably beautiful handwriting" (quote from several of my high school teachers... I'm so proud!) but I'll go ahead and type it up (my story, that is). It'll save time and paper and... wrist aches, and now no one can make me feel bad about it! :) Thanks for all the responses!

Mr. Anonymous
07-30-2008, 11:39 PM
Personally, I think (I do not intend to offend anyone) that writing by hand is a waste of time. Just think of how long it'll take you to inevitably transfer to the computer. Seems pretty pointless, to me.

On the other hand, when I revise/edit my work, I prefer to have a hard copy. For some strange reason, I tend to pick up on a lot of things that I wouldn't have if I'd tried editing on the computer.

Virector
07-30-2008, 11:42 PM
I love to handwrite things. I handwrite letters sometimes, mostly to my husband. I love a clean sheet of paper, and I love the way it feels to drag the pen across it. I don't know why.

Wow! It's the same with me! My brothers think I'm weird because sometimes I just spread out a lot of clean, blank papers in front of me and just sit there for ages admiring them... I don't really know WHAT exactly about blank pages and the feeling of writing things down on a nice clean sheet of paper that gets to me...

Bubastes
07-30-2008, 11:45 PM
Personally, I think (I do not intend to offend anyone) that writing by hand is a waste of time. Just think of how long it'll take you to inevitably transfer to the computer. Seems pretty pointless, to me.


Not for me. When I enter my handwritten first draft into the computer, I make revisions along the way. The first draft in the computer ends up being the second draft, and since I write better quality first draft fiction by hand, I end up going through fewer total drafts this way. But then, that's what works for me.

Quossum
07-31-2008, 01:44 AM
One person's waste of time is another person's essential connection with the muse. :tongue

I enjoy the physical act of writing, and the speed is "right" for me on a first draft, during which I do a lot of "thinking," which to the average spectator looks suspiciously like staring vacantly into space.

Plus, I can carry a notebook and fountain pens in my purse everywhere (I only buy notebook-accomodating purses) and so can write in any nook and cranny of time and space that I come across.

Like MeowGirl, typing my first draft into the computer is when my first big steps of editing take place, and then all future revision will be on the computer, where it's ever so much easier.

My laptop is a definitely a godsend for editing, though, and sometimes I do type first drafts as well; I just prefer writing by hand at this point in my life. Whether "written" on computer or on paper, though, it's still perfectly valid as writing.

--Q

Red-Green
07-31-2008, 02:27 AM
Keep in mind the most scathing criticism of any writer I've ever heard: "That's not writing--that's typing." (Truman Capote said it of Jack Kerouac.)

He could just as easily turned it around and said, "That's not writing--that's penmanship practice."

Writing is about creating a story, not about what medium you use to create.

scope
07-31-2008, 03:01 AM
The answer to your questions are extremely subjective. Everyone does it a different way, at least to some degree. Before writing I make my notes in longhand, and when ready put them into the computer. When I complete all my notes, concepts, outline, etc, I print them out, read them over, make changes and more notes, and when ready to actually write, I use a computer. After writing pages on the computer I print them out, read and make additional changes, I continue the process until the work is complete. When complete, I print the entire manuscript and and review it for things I want to change, edit, add, etc. There is no right or wrong way. Whatever works for you is the way to go.

darrtwish
07-31-2008, 04:31 AM
I almost only "write" by typing on the computer. I type at 131 wpm on average, and my handwriting is so much slower, even when I'm racing to get an idea down. I will occasionally write out bits and pieces of it on paper but for the most part I type everything out.

Deccydiva
07-31-2008, 11:05 AM
I almost only "write" by typing on the computer. I type at 131 wpm on average, and my handwriting is so much slower, even when I'm racing to get an idea down. I will occasionally write out bits and pieces of it on paper but for the most part I type everything out.

I'm exactly the same, apart from my typing speed being slower. For me, the facility to edit quickly is a great advantage too. For example, spell check will not tell you that you have used the wrong word, so if you find "accept" instead of "except", "their" instead of "there" and "dairy" instead of "diary" this is easily corrected.