Thursday, April 21, 2011

Keeping all the plates in the air - or not

Lately I've been thinking about the technology of writing. The writing blogs both laud and lament the fact that everybody under the sun is self-publishing e-books, because they can. I think that's a good thing.  Yes, it means there's a lot of crap being published. (But, there always was crap that somehow made it through the traditional publishing gauntlet.)  It also means that some really good stuff may get published that might not otherwise have become available. Mainly it means that there are a lot of decent-if-not-great stories available to those who would like to read them. I think that's a good thing.

I wrote my first novel long-hand, on random pads of paper, mostly during my lunch hours over a period of about two years. I have never typed it. It's in an expandable folder in my "special box".  I haven't had the nerve to look at it in years. I'm sure it's dreadful, but I remember how excited I was to have finished drafting a novel with a beginning, a middle and and ending.

Now, I compose on a Netbook. When I'm really in the zone, I can turn out 60,000 words in a month. I back up my work to an online site. I revise as I go, and then revise and revise and revise for at least five or six drafts. I never print anything. (I don't even own a printer.) I publish in various digital formats online. I'm a totally digital kind of gal. My writing, like most of the rest of the important stuff about me, is in the cloud.

I can write a lot faster composing at the computer. Editing is a breeze as well. Self-publishing e-books is quick, convenient and free. I love it.

Sometimes I wonder if I've lost something by going totally digital.  My writer's voice is different when I write long-hand than when I compose at the keyboard. I have been thinking about drafting my next story long-hand, and then editing it after typing it into the computer.

What do you think?  Do you compose on paper or at the computer?  Is there a difference in the quality of the output?

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