Saturday, February 23, 2013

By hand?

I used to write everything out by hand.

Through high school, I really liked the pilot precise v ball pens, and wrote a rambling and muddy plotted fantasy epic in mostly blue, with some black. More than a thousand loose leaf pages by hand, perpetual stain of blue or black ink on the first joint of my middle finger.

Though my father was in computers, and his father for decades before him, we didn't have what one could consider a "functioning" computer at home. I mean, it was okay for DOS Jeopardy, Age of Empires eventually, and then finally word processing (with a dot matrix printer; this was Not Good, even in the '90's). But I didn't type my fantasy epic which, if I recall, was entitled The Dragon Legend.

I had a separate notebook going that was a cast of characters, their geographic locations, their 'group' affiliations (I wasn't thinking in terms of politics back then, you see). A list of dragons, of course, because they talked and stuff. Other pertinent critters, Bad Guys, Good Guys, you have the idea. More than a thousand. Hand written. Pages.

I only have part of it anymore. I put it away pretty much for the duration of college. I took it out and looked at it after, and threw most of it away. Just like that. Yeah buddy. I'm happy to say my taste in fantasy has improved since high school. Matured, like a fine wine. Or patchouli. Or something.

Some of the story elements surface in my mind occasionally, melded with other things I'd like to see in a fantasy novel. I still don't know what The Point is, and aside from using some kind of Ancient Magical Sword MacGuffin, need to have a few more plot points. Need to know what the Bad Guys want. Need to know what the Good Guys want. And then, of course, blur that Good/Bad line just a little, just for fun. I'll write it sometime.

Nowadays, while I might jot ideas on scraps of paper (I have many scraps of paper; my fiancé bemoans this madness on occasion), and while I write sentences in some of my myriad blank books (you can never have too many. You just have to accept this fact. The Bloggess has one now, by the way), I primarily write via computer. I blog, seen here where we are now of course, and also over here. My fingers are no longer ink stained. Typically. Sometimes there are incidents with Sharpies at work.

I have a folder on my desktop, appropriately labelled "Writing", in which I have an avalanche of files, and other folders, some better organized than others. There's "finished" and also "novels" and also "Steampunk", which then puts me in a bind....I have more unfinished Steampunk than finished, and all three of them are novels. So where does the Steampunk folder go? Does it need more folders in it? Should everything by arranged by genre? By end-length goal (novels and short stories) and then genres within that? Then there are the files I have on my desktop, of stories I've only just started. Or files that are titled things I want to title stories, with no text yet in the document. When they're finished, they get moved to Writing -> finished. Though some of them are in their own folders too, if I feel they would go well in a "collection" (and I know this is a slippery slope, given what I keep seeing about short story collections. Of course, I keep seeing the damn things get published too. So.)

It's really a tremendous bother and I should organize it, but I would much rather play Snood or fuck around on the Internet listening to cello and looking at boots I can't afford and magazines I would love to give me money.


  1. I generally write on the computer just because it's easier to fix and move things around, which is pretty important as a chunk writer. But it took me awhile to get used to it and I still go back to pen and paper when I get stuck.

    1. There is something more visceral about pen and paper, to be sure.

      I typically write things chronologically, but there are times a scene or conversation springs fully formed to my brain and I need to keep it somewhere for the perfect time.