Handwriting vs Typing

I came across this video this other day, of author Jon Skovron explaining how he hand writes his entire epic fantasy novels.

This made me so weirdly nostalgic, because I used to write exactly like that!  Here are some of the notebooks I filled cover-to-cover writing just one book:

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That Snow White notebook is way too adorable for the gory scenes I wrote in it.

And here is some idea of how ridiculously thick the book is altogether (excluding the notebooks I didn’t fill all the way/couldn’t find for the photograph):

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I don’t hand write nearly as much anymore, because when I was about seventeen someone told me real authors just type their novels straight up.  Typing is faster and cleaner, and MS Word keeps a word count for you instead of you having to count it out yourself and scribble numbers in the margins.  And with netbooks and iPads becoming popular, typing got more portable too, so when I started my next book I got out my laptop and typed it up from draft one.

This makes me kind of sad now.  People still buy me tonnes of notebooks for my birthday, and instead of filling them on a bi-monthly basis, I hoard them at the bottom of my bookshelf.  They all look so forlorn sitting there, waiting for their turn to be loved.  Soon, my pretties, soon.

Maybe someday, I’ll go back to handwriting all my novels.  For now, though, my notebooks will continue to work as quick places for me to scribble ideas/doodles/short scenes I don’t want to forget rather than full-length manuscripts.

Do you hand write your novels/articles/shopping lists before typing them up, or go straight to typing?  Which do you prefer?  Comment and let me know, because I am lonely and need people to talk to. :p

Good Luck, Brave NaNoWriMo Writers!

NaNoWriMo — short for National Novel Writing Month — is one hell of a challenge.  The premise is simple, and utterly insane: attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month.

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I’ve completed NaNoWriMo a couple of times (and also failed once or twice), and each attempt felt like hurtling down a hill on three-wheeled skateboard, careening into subplots, characters, and plot twists, screaming all the way to the bottom.  The challenge is tough.  The pursuit of 1,667 words a day drags you away from other unnecessary things, like homework, or a social life, or a functioning sleep schedule.  But it’s all worth it when you reach that 50,000 mark on 30th November (or earlier, if you’re literally a wizard), in a caffeine-addled haze, and then you celebrate by collapsing on the sofa and sleeping until Christmas.

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I’m saddened to say that I won’t have time to do NaNoWriMo this year.  On the other hand, I feel kind of like I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo all year, as editing my steampunk book swallows up more and more of my life, to the point where I’ve developed a twitch when I hear words like ‘cogs’ and ‘goggles’.

To any brave writers venturing onto your first (or second, or fifth) NaNoWriMo this year: best of luck, and I’m rooting for you!

If you’re interested in signing up for NaNoWriMo, it’s completely free, and the website is just here.

Erebus Extract

I’ve put up an extract of my book series, Erebus, on this site.  It’s the first chapter, and it’s sitting under the Writing Extract tab at the top of the page.  Here, have a map I painted from when I was doing world building a while ago:

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Erebus has been my pet project for so long now I can’t imagine not writing it.  When I finally finished the first draft in November 2012, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Eventually I managed to distract mysef with other projects, and for a while I was happy imagining my Erebus characters sitting on a beach somewhere in Mauritius, sipping cocktails out of coconuts and patting themselves on the back for surviving seven years of my writing.

After a year or so, though, my characters seemed to get bored of all the sunshine and relaxation and decided to start tapping me on the shoulder again.  Rather insistently.  With sledgehammers.  So I’ve gone right back to the beginning and started to re-write Erebus all over again, with a view to having a much more polished draft for potential agents to look at.

Please do read the first chapter.  I hope you like it!