Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pen to Paper.

Wow, it's awfully quiet out there... Are you all deep in revisions or on deadline? How's the writing going? Anyone writing the first draft of a new story, like me? :)

I love the shiny new ones, but man, they can be frustrating as hell. Case in point: I'm typing along, knowing exactly where I want to go with my heroine, when ten pages in... BAM!... I'm suddenly staring at a blank page.

Now, the stupid thing? I'd already envisioned what the next scene would be! I could see it play out in my head as clearly as if I were experiencing it, but for the life of me I could not describe it on the computer. And I'm embarrassed to say I'd stared at the blank screen for far too long.

So today, after staring at the bright screen a little longer, I decided to pull out one of my journals and finish the chapter by writing it in longhand. And it worked immediately.

Why do you think that is? The connection between pen and paper? My fingertips gliding over the pages? The physical act of writing out every word? Or perhaps just the change from staring at a blank screen to grasping a pen and knowing what I needed to write? Maybe it's a combination of all of that.

And you know what else? Not until I'd opened my journal today did I remember that I'd completed the first draft of my first novel, a western, by longhand. And I'd finished it so much more quickly than any other manuscript since.

Now I know why...

Because when I write longhand, I don't edit my work to death; however, I will cross something out and move on quickly or add something else in the margins. When I type out a story, though, I edit as I go and delete what I don't like, which means I sit in front of the computer way too long as I try to compose The. Perfect. Sentence. Not good for a first draft -- at least not for me (I say this because I know down the line some scenes will be deleted anyway, so why should I perfect them during the first draft? You guys probably don't have this problem... LOL). Of course, I want a clean draft. Who doesn't? But there's going to be revisions to give the story POP, right? And yet, that doesn't stop me from over-editing the first draft when I should just write it.

Okay, so what have I learned today? Write! Dang it.


What's going on with you guys? You're all being so quiet! :)

Oh, and have you ever written a story in longhand? Feel free to chime in with the "Are you crazy?! How can you write a 400-page novel by longhand?!" comments. I'm sure a lot of you are thinking it. ;)

Take Care,