Don’t believe me? Well, let me convince you. The next book was supposed to be by hand. In fact, a lot of people have been asking, “Weren’t you writing your next book by hand?” because I’d made it clear that was my next plan.
Let me explain what happened:
I wanted to write one book by hand, and then another by typewriter to see which I liked best. Then I started my top secret super exciting new idea on the typewriter. I should have known better. It demanded that I let it stay there. And now . . . it just refuses to pack its bags and move over to the neighborhood of handwritten.
So I’m doing this all backwards. Typewriter first. *shrug* I don’t mind, and you probably don’t care. 😛 So let me introduce you to this beast from 1936. In the next several months, beast and I shall be bonding.
What is this madness?
Still don’t understand this bizzarre quest of mine? Still scratching your head? Well, let me go a bit deeper. Don thine scuba gear.
Our processing of story changes depending on our perspective. (Tweet this) Just think about different reading atmospheres — reading (or writing) a book will feel completely different if you’re on a cozy cafe couch with a chai latte, candles, and indie music than if you’re reading in the car on a road trip with your family, feeling queasy, and listening to nine hours of country music. Am I right or am I right? (Hint: I’m right.)
Our atmosphere, our body position, our reading material . . . each affect how we process a book. (Tweet this) Just take a look at the temperaments behind ebook versus paperback. Some people read only on their Kindle. Others refuse to use anything electronic. Others flit between the two.
It’s not just because we like holding something thicker than a tablet or thinner than a hardcover. It’s something about perspective.
For me, writing is the same way. Typing on the computer, I don’t fully think through scenes. It’s a good way to get a skeleton of a plot written up with some shallow characters. And computers let me see my word count. Writing by hand is different. Slower. Instead of looking straight ahead at the words on a screen, I’m looking down at paper. Handwriting. Scribbles. Writing on a typewriter is also slower, I can’t scribble out mistakes, and it makes me think more intentionally about scenes. It also transports me to a different era of writing. It makes me think of the greats, or the oddballs, or the other geniuses of the writing world.
Lew Wallace wrote the entirety of Ben-Hur by hand while sitting outside under the same beech tree. Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a typewriter in the basement of a library in just nine days. 😯 (Nine days!) J. K. Rowling wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter on cafe napkins. These are all different perspectives. And I’ll be darned if I miss out on discovering this other world of writing just because I was raised in the 21st century. So I plan to try all of them. I’ve written the Out of Time Series on the computer, I’ll be writing some future books by hand, but right now . . . my current work-in-progress will be written on an old 1936 L C Smith & Corona typewriter.
How perspective changes things
Consider the different ways we think based simply on our head angle. When I can’t think of a word, I close my eyes and look up. When I’m daydreaming, I tend to look out the nearest window at an angle. When I’m focused I lean closer to the computer. Think about how photos of books near windows always seem to inspire us. Or how writing in coffee shops just feels more romantic than writing in a windowless basement office.
The art of writing isn’t just getting words on paper. It’s making those words come to life and come through your own life. Maybe this isn’t making sense. When I get excited or inspired about an idea, I tend to just ramble. 😛 However, I’ve managed to settle down enough to start a list of different ways I want to write a book:
- By hand – I’ll do this with a fountain pen to prevent hand cramps. Trust me, you’ll get a blog post with more details when the time comes.
- On a typewriter – currently stocked up on typewriter ribbon! Woot!
- Outside (yes, even in winter) – I want to write an entire story outdoors, surrounded by living sounds, scents, seasons, etc.
- While traveling – Train, car, plane, boat . . . the entire manuscript must be written while in movement.
- In a different country – this one would obviously take a lot of planning. 😛 And would preferably take place in a castle in Europe. Duh.
- By candlelight – It’s amazing how different lighting a room with candlelight feels.
Writing is an art.
What happened to the art of writing a book? I find myself losing that art as I try to meet deadlines or cram my head full of more ideas. I’m stepping into this adventure to help myself regain and explore that art. Authors create worlds, but it’s also our duty to explore our own. (Tweet this) That means exploring the details behind our callings and passions, studying them, discovering them. That is part of my calling in this profession.
This topic alone could be its own blog post. 😛
I’m documenting this adventure so you can expect updates on my social media (usually under the hashtag #amtypewriting) as well as follow-up posts to share my progress and experience. Oh, and cool typewriter photos because, um, it’s a typewriter. Typewriters demand a paparazzi following.
I’m writing only the first draft on the typewriter because I don’t think my publisher or agent would appreciate a giant string-tied stack of typo-ridden paper. Once the first draft is done, I’ll re-enter the world of computers and type up the thing for editing. Contrary to popular belief, my first drafts aren’t perfect. 😉
When am I starting this, you ask? Um . . . I’ve already started! Mwahaha! I’ve started fairly recently and plan to bang out a giant chunk of story during Camp NaNoWrimo next month (in . . . three . . . days . . . O.o)
This isn’t a sudden whim. I’ve been chewing on this idea for over a year and planning how to do it, how to commit. This is for realz, peeps. Call me crazy but . . . *shrug* . . . I’m an author. Crazy is good. 😉
What do you think of writing in different formats? Crazy? Awesome? Confused?
What other way do you think I should write a book? Help me brainstorm!