"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Longhand Day

Just now I was wandering the hillside with Ruth, camera in hand, seeking pretty colours for nice pictures.

The morning is mild and grey, with a smattering of sunlight breaking through the clouds. It's utterly still--no breeze at all. And silent--no birds, no boats.

It's a perfect writing day, and I mean to make the most of it. And instinctively I know it's also a writing-in-longhand day. So I'm about to go down to the dock with my little black-and-white assistant, a pad of lined paper and one of those unique felt-tip pens I purchase only in Ireland (can't get them anywhere else.)

My first novels were all written in longhand. In order to have a semi-normal life and meet my contracted deadlines, eventually I learned to "think" onto a keyboard. My fingers now fly as quickly as my thoughts.

Some of my colleagues, most notably my friend Tess Gerritsen, do their first drafts in longhand.

I constantly shift back and forth, from modern technology to the old, depending on my mood and the nature of the scene I'm writing.

My goal is to finish at least a third of a chapter before Ruth and I have our afternoon walk. Maybe half. Wish me luck!

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