Blogger: Rachel Kent
We received a question via email from John in Canada. He asks: “I have read that writing with a pen is “better” than typing when it comes to this mysterious quality feature. But the old fashioned technique of course suffers from an efficiency standpoint. It’s best to have it digitally recorded for editing and updating. I’ve also been told to read my work out loud to myself. I do read work to a group, and I feel the benefits. I’m wondering if any of your writers, or if you know of any, that write with a pen then read their work out loud with a tool like Dragon to record it. This “workflow” seems to accomplish much: establishes that writer-paper relationship with the pen and slows down the writing, all to increase quality. It adds reading out loud, a proven editing technique, and the digital recording just happens.”
John, I do know of a few authors who write difficult sections of their manuscripts by hand and then type it after they feel they’ve written what they want to. I’ve heard that changing the method of writing by getting away from a computer can help an author to conquer writer’s block. I don’t think any Books & Such clients write manuscripts completely by hand, but I do think it is true that writing by hand can improve quality because it does force the writer to slow down. It’s just not the way of the world these days though and it would be so time consuming to write that way. The improvements that could be made aren’t likely to be significant enough to be worth the extra work in most cases either.
I am a firm believer in an author reading a book out loud after it is complete. You can catch so many mistakes that way! I encourage all of you to leave enough time before your deadline to take the time to read your book out loud.
This topic makes me think of Jane Austen and I’ve pondered this before. I love Jane’s works so I have wished that she had access to a computer so she could have written more than six complete books in her lifetime. But if she had a computer would the books have turned out as well? I don’t think they would have, but there’s no way to know for sure.
I don’t know of any authors who use voice recognition software to write books, but we can ask our blog readers. Do any of you use voice recognition software like Dragon?
And I’ll end with a little note on something related to this topic: If you do write your books by hand, you will need to type them after. Agencies and publishers do not accept handwritten projects.
Here are a few other questions for our readers:
Is there an author you wish could have written more before he or she died?
Do you think that writing by hand improves quality in any way?
Do you ever write parts of your book by hand?
FYI: If any of you has a question you would like for us to answer on the blog, feel free to send them to representation @ booksandsuch.com (be sure to remove the spaces). Thank you!