Question of the Week: 2/21/16

<–Question of the Week: 2/14/16          Question of the Week: 2/28/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

Do you hand write your stories?

Before Northern Lights I hand wrote my original novel The Serpent’s Tale prior to using Word.  I’m not sure what prompted me to forgo that initial step, because I feel I was a less neurotic and less stressed about it because I had a tangible backup.  I have lost writing before, and few things feel more soul crushing.  I wrote a short story/novella a decade entitle Heart of Fire (I apparently like things that come from the “heart“), and while it suffered from the same issues anything written a decade prior would, I still wish I had a copy somewhere.  There were good ideas in that work that could’ve been salvaged.  Even with The Serpent’s Tale I lost some work on Word.  Thankfully, I had the hand written backup, but that was more of the skeleton of what was loss; the flesh had to be reformed.  Currently, I email myself after every writing session so I have a morass of writing in my one Gmail folder.  It gives me peace of mind.

I actually prefer the hand writing method.  Many authors swear by it, and it honestly doesn’t add much time to a work.  It took me two years to write/edit The Serpent’s Tale,  and Northern Lights was the same.  I told myself after the latter was complete that I’d go back to the hand written method, and the only reason I didn’t with The Broken Rose is because I believed it would be a short story.  With my next story, which I’m projecting to be novella length (meaning it’ll be a three book series *groan*) I am most definitely going back to my old method.  Seeing a blank journal page is far less anxiety inducing that staring at the white of Word. While I do always have notes and take extensive ones, I’d rather have a complete skeleton in place rather than cobbling together that, flesh, and nerves with a dimly lit instruction manual.


Which method do you prefer?  Have you only used one or both?  What merits/deficiencies have you found in both?

I look forward to your answers in the comments!

<–Question of the Week: 2/7/16          Question of the Week: 2/21/16–>

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14 thoughts on “Question of the Week: 2/21/16

  1. I use both methods. I love writing by hand and bring a notebook with me almost everywhere in case inspiration hits. If I’m inspired to write a line or scene, I do it right away so I don’t forget it. But for longer drafting sessions, I use Word. I type up all my notebook stuff first and arrange it in (somewhat) chronological order, then fill in the gaps in Word. I find both methods fun in different ways, I suppose! And I back everything up on multiple USB’s, as my writing laptop is old and has never been connected to the internet (which helps minimize distraction).

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  2. I use OneNote for random inspiration! I love that program because I have suffered from the dreaded “I’ll remember it” and then I don’t. It’s great especially for that late night/early morning dialogue or descriptive brilliance you’re struck with, and you don’t need to turn on a light. Honestly rearranging the elements is almost like putting together a puzzle. I just like having everything together in order because that way I won’t go back to my notes and curse because I missed something. Of course I can always add back in in edit but it drives my anxiety nuts 😋

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  3. Ultimately I write everything on my laptop because it’s so easy to delete all the bad stuff. But I have a terrible memory and ideas turn up uninvited, so I end up with scraps of paper and scribbled notes filling my pockets, lying on my floor at home, written in books, diaries, my phone. Driving home from work tends to set my imagination rolling too, so I often arrive home with sharpie notes covering my hands because I didn’t want to stop and write the ideas properly.
    I sympathise with losing work, I’m not good at backing up documents, so tend to use Dropbox these days, then I don’t need to worry.

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  4. YES. Driving does amazing things to my thought process. I’m not exactly sure. It could be because my brain is actively engaged in one activity so the blood is flowing, but it’s separate from the side that does writing. I’ll often construct full conversations/scenes in my head while in the car. Walking/jogging is also good for it. I used to jog a lot more than I do now, but I came up with a resolution involving a particular ribbon while out doing that. I think that motion allows your mind to wander and explore different scenarios/situations and/or problem solve. I’ve done the naughty thing and tried to get down a good idea or dialogue in either OneNote or my note app while at a stop light or something.

    I used to have tons of paper scraps and whatnot until I discovered the OneNote app. I also had this one massive Excel file that became a beast to organize lol. I love that app even though it has some issues. Searching is annoying, but I’ve found that with EverNote. It seems like there’s no good writing software with a decent search function.

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  5. Glad the writing while driving thing is not just me. Especially good for fixing a problem or even noticing I’ve missed something out. I think my unconscious brain should take a lot of the credit for my writing, so much gets done while I’m not even thinking about it.
    OneNote sounds good, but unfortunately my phone is from the past and can’t take apps, or photos. I keep thinking I’ll take a leap into the phone world of today, but I know if I get an iphone i’ll break it within minutes 😀

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  6. Do you also get the first thing on the morning realizations? Those are great. It’s like my brain is working in the background and the antivirus software picks something up lol.

    Hehe my other writer friend is the same! She calls it her “dumb phone,” and as a person currently replying on a broken iPhone screen I can concur. I got it for Christmas 2014 and dropped it in the snow January 2015 while taking a video of my cat. Then I bought an otter box and screen cover *sigh* It still works but is no longer pretty. Onenote is good even on the computer, too. God it sounds like I work for them; promise I don’t lol. I just know how useful note taking software is 😋

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  7. I definitely relate to my-brain-working-in-background, but it’s more when I’m trying to go to sleep and the ideas keep popping up.
    I’m sorry you dropped your phone in the snow I hope the cat video was ok!
    I’ve managed to put my phone through the washing machine twice, it kept going but it makes a gurgling whiny noise instead of ringing. Makes me feel guilty whenever anyone calls. 😦 This is why I can’t have nice phones.

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