Scribbled, not Pecked

Posted: October 21, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’m a pretty fast typist, and I have my own aimless youth to thank for it.

I had no clue of what I wanted to be when I grew up.  (I’m still not sure I’ve “growed up” yet, but I’ve been plenty of things in the meantime.)  In high school, I took whatever classes I wanted to — I was in advanced English and metal shop during the same semester.  Preparing for college was a vague and abstract concept.  I dicked around at community college, but didn’t go for a degree until I was 25.

I’m socially delayed.  Hopefully that applies to death as well.

One of the classes I took was typing.  I was no speed demon, maybe 30 wpm depending on what I’d smoked before I went to class, but my young brain, my pliable easily-manipulated brain was rewired.  Fingers matched letters, letters matched keys, and when computers became a product for the masses, my digits were already digital.

So, why have I been scribbling instead of pecking?

Editing what you’ve already written in a first draft prevents you from moving the story forward.  On the compooter, every letter in the story is equally editable, it can be moved or deleted or changed, you lose the focus on what’s going on at the end.  I like to edit, I’m good at polishing crap to a shiny gloss.  But… unless you have a clue where the story’s going, you will polish the wrong crap.  And once you’ve spent all that time tweaking a scene to “perfection,” you’re not so willing to change it — or, heaven forbid, delete it — for the greater good of the story.

So, I write a few thousand words of something, then transcribe it, print it out, start writing again on the back of the printout, and as I read from the beginning, make notes on the earlier printed stuff.  If nothing else, I’m maximizing my paper usage.

This is not a new thing. I once read that Neil Young sometimes writes song lyrics on newspaper because it makes you concentrate on the line you’re writing.

Maybe you could approximate this by setting your window in your word processor to show one line of text only, but I think that could cause your brain to leak out through your eye sockets.

I’ve been doing this with “Smoked,” another ‘glades story, and it really wants to grow.  Maybe a novel in the making?

Also tweaking my Christmas story,  “The Sawing of the Yule Log,” for a story contest.  Hope they like stories about Santa taking a hugantic dump.


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