A Life Of Fiction CLXIV

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Words On Screen. I have a little theory, so bear with me. I think that when you see words written on an electronic screen, whether on some website or on something like a Kindle, that they seem better than if written out longhand in some writer’s notebook. The reason why I think this is that when I reject poetry for publication I don’t leave it in a notebook, but collect together all my failed verse in collections which I call Fractions of Verse (I now have ten volumes of poems which are either unfinished or simply too bad to stick on the Kindle store). Yet when I write up those bad poems on my computer they don’t look as bad as in my notebooks. The words are the same. So it can only be the way in which they are portrayed.

I find that when I read something on my computer, as opposed to in a book, that I have the tendency to scroll through the content. It feels natural to scroll down if I’m reading something which is, perhaps, a little dull. I’m not entirely sure why this should be. Maybe we simply value words in a printed book more than words on an electrical screen. Do those monitors make words appear more ephemeral than if they are written in ink? It is my theory that they do.

Ephemeral, yet also better. We write differently, I think, if we right directly onto a computer. So I have gone back, of late, to doing a first draft in a notebook, and writing it up on my computer a day or so later. I’m hoping that my content will be better, or at least just different. It does mean that it takes me a lot longer to write things. Now I do the second draft in the morning, taking my notebook and writing up around three thousand words, improving the grammar, rewriting the odd section, and all of the things that you do in a second draft. Then, unless I am busy with other matters that day, I will spend the rest of the day with my notebooks next to me, slowly writing my stories as sentences occur to me.

Anyway, that was my idea about words on screen. Just a few odd thoughts.


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