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Authors/Writers' Corner > How Do You Get Your Most Outstanding Work - Pen or Computer?

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message 1: by Toni (last edited Jan 27, 2015 01:23PM) (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments I am curious, for those of you who care to respond:
Do you prefer drafting on a computer or using pen and paper?

In my research, it seems that most people who use a pen produce less work per year, but they also produce some of the most off-the-wall, original, crazy, AMAZING stories.

What do you think? Is writing by hand worth the time and added effort? Especially in a genre like romance, where you sometimes need to produce a lot of work in a short time. I've only recently gone back to the pen and paper. So far, I like it better than staring at a computer screen and the results are great. But I'm not sure how long I'll continue.

(Sorry if this topic is already on the forum somewhere. I told myself that I checked well enough beforehand.)

Toni A. Black

message 2: by Pygmy (new)

Pygmy Oh! what are your research results and how did you manage to collect it?

I'm a mixture of both. I can't say my handwritten stuff is particularly better than my typewritten stories, since it has to do with expediency more than the medium. More often than not, I'm not at a computer when I come up with an idea. I adore notebooks and stationery, so usually I will have something to write the idea down in, or I might have a particular notebook I'm dying to use, so I dedicate it to a certain story idea. Then when I'm far enough along to see that the story is worthwhile, then I will start typing, and continue back and forth like that.

It's definitely a slower method, though. =/ But with my tendonitis, I can never hope to produce much anyway, so I take my time.

One of my favorites things is to just hold my notebook and flip through the pages. :3 I like to see my progress, or just to feel the paper and ink! Ballpoint on thinner paper is nice because it has this bumpy, crunchy feel, but gel pen on smooth paper is also super nice with that smooth paper texture and the colored inks!

I love handwriting things, and almost all my stories start out on paper, though nowadays for the sake of expediency, I type a lot more.

message 3: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
I write in my head first, then computer.

message 4: by Bianca (new)

Bianca Dean (biancadeanink) | 25 comments Recently, I've just been going straight to the computer. It takes me a much longer time to get into the 'zone' when just using a computer when I can get totally into the head of a character and write. I find it's much easier to do with pen and paper. But I produce more words when I just sit at a computer and write. So I guess, that just means I have more editing work to do when I go back to what I've written.

I too am kind of obsessed with notebooks and stationary and pens, so I always have a notebook on hand when I'm not in front of my computer. I feel like writing things out by hand makes me consider my words more carefully. I'm a tad OCD, and I hate to see cross-outs and markings in my notebooks.

In the beginning stages, I use paper a lot more - to plot and brainstorm and make character sketches. That's just easier. Then, as I start to write, I switch to the computer. I love the sound my fingers make as they press the keys down.

message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimgm) | 1032 comments I tend to write lots of excerpts of scenes in longhand and then expand them on my computer. I've always worked with both.

Sometimes I don't want to lug my computer to a café, so I take a notebook and pen and write down everything I need there. Then I type it up later and add more details. I think when I wrote my first drafts entirely in longhand, I actually finished them faster. It was my daily thing to do while I was in bed--write for a while instead of writing a journal entry. Now when I write on my computer, I am too easily distracted, so it's good to have my notebook and pen. Plus, I am a total notebook junkie.

message 6: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Pygmy,

My research mainly involved scouring writers' blogs, forums and magazines to find anything mentioning pen/paper vs. computer drafting.

The overall feeling that I got was that, while typing is faster, the process of writing by hand forces you to slow down and think more deliberately about each word.

I can agree with that statement for the most part. I just don't find typing faster. I'm slow at it. (I always go back and correct words as I'm drafting, which I know is not good. I just haven't been able to break the habit.)

Toni A. Black

message 7: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Arch,

If you can do that, I want to be you when I grow up.

The minute I can compose full paragraphs in my head, I'm going to get myself some text-to-speech software and start talking to my computer. Then forget the pen, the paper, and the computer.

Toni A. Black

message 8: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Bianca,

I'm the same way about getting in the zone . I can spend hours in front of a computer, and I might come away with 2-3 pages. But when I sit down with a notebook, the words just flow. I can get about 3-4 pages every hour.

Toni A. Black

message 9: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Kim,

I agree with you on finishing drafts faster in longhand. I definitely do.

And there is a lot to be said for being able to sit in bed and craft your story. I love doing that! I go to sleep sometimes with the story playing out in my head, which means I have more to write when I wake up.

Toni A. Black

message 10: by Bianca (new)

Bianca Dean (biancadeanink) | 25 comments Toni,

I totally had the idea that I would be able to use text to speech software and churn out pages. Oh dear god, it was the worst mistake ever.

Not only do I have a horrible Jersey accent, but having to repeat 'open quote', 'close quote' every two minutes drove me mad. It just wasn't worth the hassle.

But I have to say, if I'm on the go, I can open my WIP on my phone, and the text to speech app it has is pretty good. I have up trying to format dialogue properly, but it does help me get my thoughts down quickly.

message 11: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Toni wrote: "Arch,

If you can do that, I want to be you when I grow up.

The minute I can compose full paragraphs in my head, I'm going to get myself some text-to-speech software and start talking to my compu..."

Toni, I am going on 23 years of being a writer. I not only write in my head first. I tend to know how my stories are going to end and I work from there.

message 12: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Bianca,
I had to laugh a little about your Jersey accent. Oh, and having to call out all of your punctuation annoyed me too. But it was still faster than my typing when I transferred my last work from paper to PC.

I've been writing for a few more years than that (not exclusively, though), and I still don't fully compose a story in my head. I get a sense of what I want to say scene by scene, but I don't know the actual words until they're on the paper (or screen). And knowing the end is the kiss of death. I'd never finish the writing it.

Toni A. Black

message 13: by Echo (new)

Echo  (mrsbookmark) | 307 comments I tried doing drafts cold on computer...all kinds of speed typing methods, word count contests, etc. most of last year.

This did not turn out well.

I started to hate it. I wasn't enjoying the process at all. For me, writing is about writing in MY voice and expressing myself creatively and I do better with longhand and then typing. Slower, yes. Not terribly commercial, yes. However, I am much happier with the stories I am working on now in my own way than the thousands of words of dreck.

message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimgm) | 1032 comments I usually write all of my notes on my characters in my favorite Moleskine notebook. Then I fill in the character templates on Scrivener while I am writing my notes for my outline.

message 15: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Prough (deprough) | 37 comments Computer without question. My handwriting is jerky and horrible and that distracts me from what I'm writing. As a note, I have to have the right font when writing on my computer, too. I keep all my notes in Google Documents so that I can update on the go.

message 16: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Echo,
I agree with you 100%. I've tried writing for speed myself. Loved the word counts, but hated the words themselves.

Toni A. Black

message 17: by Toni (last edited Jan 31, 2015 11:50AM) (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Kim,
You're the first person I've come across who's mentioned Moleskines and wasn't a fountain pen junkie, um, I mean enthusiast. That is, unless you are one too.

Toni A. Black

message 18: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimgm) | 1032 comments Toni, I used to be one but I got tired of having to look for just the right ink. Now I have favourite rollerball pens and ballpoint pens that I absolutely must have.

message 19: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Dawn,

If the computer drafting works for you, that's great. I wish it did for me. It would save me some time anyway.

Oh, and if you ever want to improve your penmanship, stay away from ballpoint pens. They've been ruining our handwriting for years. It's the need to drag the pen across the paper that's the problem. You end up with hand cramps and unreadable chicken scratch.

Toni A. Black

message 20: by Toni (new)

Toni A. Black (toniablack) | 18 comments Kim,

I've heard of that quest for the perfect ink before. Never experienced it myself. I'm fine with black or blue. I'm boring like that. And I don't use a fountain pen anyway. I'm a little afraid of getting sucked in if I start.

Toni A. Black

message 21: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimgm) | 1032 comments That's why I gave up on it. Now I just have pens that feel smooth when I write with them. I like gel ink. It doesn't smear. :)

message 22: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Correction . I did not realize that I had typed 23 as the years that I have been a writer. I meant 28 years.

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