What medium - techno or old school?

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polymath
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by polymath » February 26th, 2011, 9:19 pm

For me, nothing beats in person experiences, secondmost, personal familiarity with persons I'm remotely interacting with through technologies like handwritten letters, e-mail, online, telephone, etc., thirdmost is when I know a setting personally, say of an acquaintance speaking over the phone or a narrative's setting, it's as if I'm there in the flesh.

So when I compose I try to put myself in the time, place, and situation of a setting perceiving it in all its sensations, physically if possible, sketching or with imaging software if not, and drafting a character sketch of the persona who's there perceiving it.

How they perceive, visually, aurally, tactilely, kinesthetically. How they think and feel about things. How they act and react. What's their motivation, their identity, personality, and behavior. I like to sketch characters with pen and paper because the urge to erase doesn't arise. My handwriting is atrocious though. Even I can't read it when it gets cold. My hands don't work right. They're always dropping things and knocking things over. They don't write the way I want them too. They scrawl. Post bilateral carpal tunnel relief surgery ongoing peripheral neuropathy. Praise Providence for computer wordprocessors.
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Cookie
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Cookie » February 26th, 2011, 9:24 pm

polymath wrote: My handwriting is atrocious though.
You should see my handwriting when I'm writing in bed. Scribbles is a more accurate word. Especially when I try to write in cursive. The urge will strike on occasion, and about 4 pages in, it just looks like scribbles on a page.

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Beethovenfan
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Beethovenfan » February 27th, 2011, 2:23 am

Beethovenfan, what genre do you write in? I've been thinking of drawing one of my crit partners main characters for them, hoping it will give them the same inspiration
.

Cookie, I write historical fiction and fantasy. All my stuff has a bit of romance in it but usually not enough to actually label it "Romance."
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
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Mike Dickson
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Mike Dickson » February 27th, 2011, 5:31 am

Cookie wrote:
polymath wrote: My handwriting is atrocious though.
You should see my handwriting when I'm writing in bed. Scribbles is a more accurate word. Especially when I try to write in cursive. The urge will strike on occasion, and about 4 pages in, it just looks like scribbles on a page.
Handwriting? Cursive? What's that?

I've been writing in all caps since the 7th grade. I was a bad boy; my teachers would tell me they might fail me if I didn't start writing correctly. My response was always, "go ahead."

I also refused to use a pencil. I haven't used a pencil in like twenty years. Did my math homework in pen. Ticked my teachers off something fierce.
Last edited by Mike Dickson on February 27th, 2011, 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Cookie
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Cookie » February 27th, 2011, 9:19 am

Mike Dickson wrote:
Handwriting? Cursive? What's that?

I've been writing in all caps since the 7th grade. I was a bad boy; my teachers would tell me they might fail me if I didn't start writing correctly. My response was always, "go ahead."

I also refused to use a pencil. I haven't used a pencil in like twenty years. Did my math homework in pen. Ticked me teachers off something fierce.
LOL.
I write in all caps too! I don't know when I started, but I did it because my dad does (he was a mechanical engineer, now a contractor) and I thought it was so neat. My teachers would yell at me too. I had one, I think it was my junior year?--where the teacher kept marking points off because I didn't capitalize the first word in a sentence. I would say "but I write in ALL CAPS!" so she started asking me to write the first letter larger than the rest. We didn't really get along.

Beethovenfan, I write in those genres too. Maybe I'll draw you an inspirational character sketch or something like that.

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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Moni12 » February 27th, 2011, 10:31 am

Mike Dickson wrote:I've been writing in all caps since the 7th grade. I was a bad boy; my teachers would tell me they might fail me if I didn't start writing correctly. My response was always, "go ahead."
A friend of mine has horrible handwriting, you have to really focus on it to read it. He told us once that he would type assignments in highschool and the teachers would threaten him too until one day he wrote out his assignment and when they saw how bad his handwriting was they said it was okay for him to type. I had a problem last year in English Lit where on a test my professor asked me to type my answers because she just couldn't read what I wrote. I laugh at it, sometimes when I go through my notes there's a word here and there that I can't read.

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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by trixie » February 27th, 2011, 12:13 pm

I find it easier to work on my laptop, but it's often too distracting and I find myself surfing under the guise of "research" for most of my writing time.

When preparing for NaNoWriMo, I put everything down on with pen and paper. And 3x5 note cards. Man, I LOVE those notecards. I make scenes on each card and lay them out until I feel my story is quasi-logical. I write down my character bios, my setting descriptions, my outline... you get the idea. I write it all down.

But, when it comes time to create a story, I move to my laptop. I type best when I don't pay any attention to the screen. I focus on my music and some indistinct spot just above my monitor and type myself into a frenzy, the characters in my head all fighting to get their words out first.

When NaNo ends, I go back to edits in pen and paper. I have found that I usually can bust through the mental block much easier, quicker, and cleaner, when I go back to the old school method.

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Beethovenfan
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Beethovenfan » February 27th, 2011, 2:27 pm

When NaNo ends, I go back to edits in pen and paper. I have found that I usually can bust through the mental block much easier, quicker, and cleaner, when I go back to the old school method.
Trixie, that's what I have just recently discovered about myself. Since this seems to be the norm for you, what do you think it is about going back to the old school pen and paper method that clears the way? I've been thinking about this all week. I mean, I was STUCK! My writing was at a complete stand still until I went back to pen and paper. Perhaps it is simply the change itself that did (does) it?
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by trixie » February 27th, 2011, 3:58 pm

Hmm... that's a tough question.

I like the feel of a good pen and I like the freedom of a blank page, whereas staring at a blank word doc tends to overwhelm me.

I feel like I have accomplished something tangible when I can look back at a stack of hand written pages. I wrote those. I wrote them with my imagination. Forget grammar or spellcheck or my email notifications. Those written pages are all mine. At it's most basic, perhaps it's a sense of validation. Hey, look, Ma! I wrote something!

There's something sterile about typing. It feels formal and stifled. Format the paragraph. Check the spacing. Choose the best font. Watch for tabs and indents. Format the headers and footers. It's very cold.

How are you supposed to scribble something out and draw a big arrow to the third paragraph on the second page to pick the story back up again on your laptop? I find writing by hand more freeing, more creative, and provides me with a greater sense of accomplishment, which in turn, feeds my motivation to keep writing.

Maybe that was a bit much. I'm no Luddite; I have a very healthy relationship with my laptop and the amazing tools at my fingertips, like Sommer mentioned above. :)

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Leonidas
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Leonidas » February 27th, 2011, 4:43 pm

This is a really interesting question. As a teenager, I live on the computer and in the Internet. I almost always have a Word Processor or Scrivener document open. But I always have a Google Chrome window with at least two tabs open, iTunes, and normally one other random program. I can't focus on just one thing when I'm on the computer, no matter what I'm doing. Even if I'm writing, I still have my Facebook open -- I don't generally check anything other than what I have to check when I'm writing, but it's always there.

However, I do like to write without the computer. I grab a sheet of unlined computer paper whenever I'm stuck. No matter what, I always write in pen. I don't normally write an entire chapter or scene by hand, but I do start them. Sometimes that's all I need: a paragraph or maybe it's just a sentence.

This actually drives me nuts because I then end up with entire notebooks full of random sentences that start stories, but no actual stories themselves.

When I start on my next draft of my WiP, I'm going to handwrite the chapters first and then enter them into the computer. This builds in an automatic edit to every chapter I write.

I'll never be disconnected from my computer, but I hope that I'll never be so disconnected from my writing that I can't switch between the two.

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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by Margo » February 28th, 2011, 1:47 am

trixie wrote:I find it easier to work on my laptop...
I can haz new 17 inch laptop. Is preciousss. I need to get away from the internet connection to get any real work done.
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by CharleeVale » February 28th, 2011, 1:57 am

I can usually only write with a pen and paper. For some reason the psychological trigger of having a pen in my hand unlocks the word flow.

Also, My thoughts move very quickly, so the pen acts as a filter, refining and only letting the good ideas through. Writing on a computer allows me to delve into too many rabbit trails.

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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 28th, 2011, 2:11 pm

I find for writing I have to use the computer. My hand simply doesn't move fast enough and I end up with this scribble that even I can't read.

For editing, however, I cannot use the computer. I've tried. I get hot, crampy, tired, and frustrated. I turn into a mess. So I print it off, grab my trusted red inkpen with the sneakers design, and go someplace to edit. Granted, I will eventually have to transfer it to the computer, but I have much more luck editing without having to be stuck in front of the darn laptop in the first place.

I can sit on the porch or go to BN and just lounge. It's nice and cool. There's no distractions. I can cuddle a dog or doll. I can just rock in the chair and breathe...

Yeah. Old school editing is nice.

I also write summaries and ideas this way. I daydream on walks and while shopping. It's why I have notecards with me. If not, there is always Twitter. XD
Mike Dickson wrote:I also refused to use a pencil.
The only thing I refuse to write in, or find hard to use, is a mechanical pencil. And that's only because I once stabbed a guy in the leg with one and so I find it a very bad idea to have it in my hand. >.>

You can ask. >:3
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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by BookDoula » March 4th, 2011, 6:47 pm

There are a number of books that talk about how different parts of the brain are switched on when using computers, compared to writing by hand. Two of my favorites are Hamlet’s Blackberry and The Shallows. Then I found The Phenomenology (aka “personal experience”) of Writing by Hand by Daniel Chandler and liked the distinction he makes between Planners who “tend to think of writing primarily as a means of recording or communicating ideas which they already have clear in their minds,” and Discoverers for whom writing is typically “a way of discovering what they want to say". At the recent Austin Film Festival I was struck by the number of famous screenwriters who talked about writing in longhand versus using the computer because the said this process felt more organic and real. More at: http://www.bookdoula.biz/write-on

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Re: What medium - techno or old school?

Post by JudyinBoston » March 4th, 2011, 7:09 pm

Way back when God was a boy and I was a sophomore in high school, I began writing first drafts of essays, themes and term papers using a typewriter. The transition to the computer and word processing software was relatively seamless. As a result of never writing anything except a few scribbles here and there, my handwriting has become, well, illegible, and now I have no choice but to use the computer. I do believe that in the intervening years, my brain has changed such that keying is normal and natural for me. And much, much neater.

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