A Certain Way To Write

I was asked recently if there was a certain way I wrote – and does it ever change?

For starters, hardly anything is done in longhand – and that has been the case since I first discovered a little thing called a typewriter. (Yes, I’m that old.)

I hear about writers ALL THE TIME writing their books or screenplays in longhand. Oh dear gawd, hold me. I Can’t. Even. Imagine. For starters, it would take me forever. And my hand would be aching on a regular basis. And I would forget half of what I wanted to say because my hand holding a pen would simply not be able to keep up with the speed in which my brain pops out words that magically form sentences.

But, it would be unfair if I said I never did anything handwritten. I usually begin a quick outline in longhand on a legal pad. I make notes on pieces of paper all the time and they are everywhere (in fact, I have piles of scrap paper with very valuable information, thankyouverymuch, all around me as I speak). I will make lists in longhand. And I will initially edit a project with a pen.

For everything else, I immediately turn to the computer. I can write faster and edit and change things much easier.

When I begin a novel I first start out with scraps of paper with several ideas on them; maybe a few character sketches or names. Then, I will pop onto the computer and write out a very loose outline with a lot of “Character X could go here…” and “Character B might think this…” From there everything is done solely on the computer – chapter by chapter outlines, character sketches, and the first draft. With my Los Angeles historical novel I did write out highlights of each chapter under each act, including a color coded system, all in longhand – but that is rare.

I talked to an author who writes a bunch of individual scenes and then pastes them into some form of novel. Another writer I read about writes all over the place – her book doesn’t even take form until she is finished writing the ending, then a few things in the middle, then the beginning, back to the middle, back to the ending…ohmegawd, my head would not be able to wrap around any of that. I tried the individual scene thing once and got myself thoroughly confused.

I need to work in some kind of linier fashion. I need order…and most definitely to start at the beginning.

The only exception to that is my non-fiction work which I have file folders that collect information and research and notes here and there until the file is bulging and ready to be put into order at which time I would turn to the computer for all the writing.

So, does it ever change? Not really, no.

If you are a writer, do you have a certain way to write?


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