Here i will share my journey of hopefully one day recognising my dream of becoming published writing what i love to read; Romance!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pen versus Computer and Writing Styles

How do you write?
Do you plan your story with pen and paper with a detailed outline of plot or a few notes on character?
Or do you use a nice white screen and type with black letters across the pages as the scene unfolds before your eyes?

I spent the week adrift with no access to a computer to keep my mother company for the last week of the school holidays, so had to use good ol' pen and paper for writing. This was not a problem. The words flowed beautifully (until the ink ran out!), the scenes are coming fast and my characters are really, really working well.
The problem i have now is that now i am home do i continue writing with pen and paper or on the computer? If on the computer i first have to type up what i have written last week - or do i? It will be a great chance to edit what i've written but that is slightly naughty as i'm not supposed to do this until i have finished the story in it's entirety.
And, if i use the computer i know i am going to be distracted by checking blogs and surfing the internet etc.
While adrift for the week i was writing approx. 1,200 words each sitting. I say approx. because there is no accurate way of counting each word except for actually counting them and i am so not going to do that.
(I do have a pen that has a battery and when you write it captures the writing and then uploads it later to the computer but the battery died and i haven't replaced it. It's one of those really small cell batteries.) No excuse and it is great, really need to replace it!
I think i liked being away from the internet. I don't have a laptop, am going to be saving so hard now - as well as for the landscaping for our new house (priorities though right!!! ;p) I really want to do my writing where i won't be distracted so i am going to have to be really strict with myself now that i know what i am capable of.

Also i have realised with this story that my writing style is a bit different. I am a plotter at heart. I thrive on a plan, have lists for everything. Detailed descriptions of my hero and heroine, their motivations and dreams. But for this story, this version at least, not the plot.
I am writing by the seat of my pants, GASP, for this story i am a pantser. The inner plotter in me is wanting me to stop and write a plan for what is happening next and what is going to go on from there etc etc etc, but the story is thriving! I am not feeling bored or getting stuck as i have found as soon i had written a detailed outline for all of my other stories.

I think i have to let myself go and let my characters drive the stories. I am excited about where they are taking me, so much so that the scenes are jumping out at me and i find myself having to jot down a note when they do out of sequence so i know what is coming up (i can't write out of sequence no matter how much that scene wants to be written!), but my characters know what is coming and they are driving it and it is so good. But the plotter in me is trying to put on the brakes i can feel her trying to stop. I hope she doesn't! I know, just know as soon as i write down the outline i won't have the passion, the drive for this story that is going. I am going to be strong. :)

So what is your writing style, your preference? What do you have to fight against to get your story written??


  1. Hi,

    Luckily I don't have to fight anything to get stories down on file! As I've said before, characters arise from various sub-conscious inspirational sources ie; paintings, places, etc., and appear in cinematic glory so no plotting needed for contemporary themes.

    With historicals the plots and characters arise in similar circumstances to above, but with historicals comes research, and more often than not entails book reserch as opposed to Internet, and copious handwritten notes. I am at present researching jewellery circa 16th - 18th centuries inclusive clothing fashions.

    Alhough I work on a laptop in the house, garden,conservatory or wherever, when reserching via books a hardback A4 ringpad is my tool and pens (plural)red and black.

    Am I distracted by Internet connection when writing novel, NO, but regular breaks for a cuppa and walking the dog is often rounded off with quick check on blogs etc.

    You see, I've been researching since seven this morning, and have finally stopped for brecky/brunch at 3mins to eleven am.




  2. I always loved writing by hand - but I'm getting old and creaky now and find that typing's much easier.


  3. Kerrin, great to hear that words didn't stop flowing and you were having "fun" with pen and paper !

    Myself, am a pantser with a wee bit of plotter in me.. For eg..when I start a story, I have no idea where it is going..

    But as I describe the H/h - I jot down in a notepad - their characteristic like eye color, hair color etc.. and well, may be a line or two like the blurb that tends to keep the story in focus.. That's the extent of my plotting :) Rest is off the seat !

  4. Francine wish i had your control and will power, i can't seem to help myself but i have vowed that i am going to try!!
    Suzanne i love 'by hand' writing! i am going to keep doing it by escaping every chance i can to the library!
    Ju, i'm really enjoying the off the seat experience it's rather thrilling, though the plotter in me is dieing to take over ;)

  5. I usually start with a plot and it stems from there. I fill out characters sheets and as I write, subplots happen. Some of the time I ask the question what if a thousand times, well almost, and it's usually the last one I come up is the better.
    With a basic direction it flows. We are all very different in how we tackle our writing, and yet no particular approach works.

    Suzanne :)

  6. Hi Kerrin :)

    I'd stick with pen and paper if I were you. Gotta love it when it flows.

    A very belated thanks for my nomination!

  7. Thanks for your input Suzanne :)
    Lacey yes i do love pen and paper, and it seems since coming home i can't get back into it, sigh. oh well maybe today will be better?!

  8. I think putting all your lists on a pc is a good idea... that way you can keep track of people, places, creatures... and search for things easily.
    The biggest downfall of hand writing would be proofing and publishing, illegibility would be an instant killer to any good book!

  9. yes Sian lists are definitely easier on the pc and legibility too!