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Help Please! Your Character’s voice

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My favourite scary disorganised author is Thomas Wolfe, who used to plonk a vast pile of pages, menus, napkins and receipts on his publisher's desk and expect them to sort the randomly written scraps into book form.

From Wikipedia on his first novel Look Homeward, Angel:

Wolfe began the novel in 1926, intending to delve into "the strange and bitter magic of life." The novel was written over 20 months. On the novel's completion, Wolfe gave the vast manuscript to Scribner editor Maxwell Perkins. Though Perkins was impressed with the young author's talent, he demanded that the novel be revised and condensed to a publishable size. The two sat down and worked through it together. After being trimmed by 60,000 words, the novel was published in 1929.

Imagine trying to get away with such a devil-may-care tactic these days!
 
I guess they had to get it more or less right in one single draft.

Easy. Phh.

Yeah, right.

Authors from back then are heroes in my view.

I love the 'delete' button on my keyboard. The 'back space' is wearing out.

Same goes for photography. They say that digital photography and photoshop have lowered photography skills. With a roll of 30 odd exposures you didn't have much room for errors. And we had to wait a week before we got to see the pics.
 
..without software? The original hand-written manuscript of Great Expectations:
View attachment 3021
That's still a fair bit better than my handwriting ... LOL.
However, I do still do a full first draft in hand written form before then typing it all into the computer.:rolleyes:
Two reasons for that:
Firstly, I'm not a fast touch typist and find that the keyboard gets in the way of my thought processes as I'm trying to get the scene down as I think about it. Writing by hand is more natural for me and thus quicker and less intrusive on my thoughts.
Secondly, the typing phase gives me a chance for a first line edit where I often pick up on all sorts of issues and often substitute words and phrases and correct punctuation and grammar as I go.
But each to his own and those born more recently than me may well find keyboards a more natural way of composing their prose.
 
Some time last week @Marc Joan got me to unearth my poems from the basement. So, here's one of them, typed on a Remington typewrite sometime during the century just gone. As you can see the ink is so faded that if I don't type them out on my pc pretty well soon, they will be gone forever- all 468 of them. Well, maybe it would be better that way.:DDSC04560 - Copia.JPG
 
That's still a fair bit better than my handwriting ... LOL.
However, I do still do a full first draft in hand written form before then typing it all into the computer.:rolleyes:
Two reasons for that:
Firstly, I'm not a fast touch typist and find that the keyboard gets in the way of my thought processes as I'm trying to get the scene down as I think about it. Writing by hand is more natural for me and thus quicker and less intrusive on my thoughts.
Secondly, the typing phase gives me a chance for a first line edit where I often pick up on all sorts of issues and often substitute words and phrases and correct punctuation and grammar as I go.
But each to his own and those born more recently than me may well find keyboards a more natural way of composing their prose.

Like you Tim, I have some kind of "mystical" relationship with pen and paper. I can't explain it really but it "feels" as if thoughts flow from my mind through the pen unto the paper. However, as soon as I have something on paper I get it typed up immediately and then I start doing all my alterations. I have of course, learnt to compose on a p.c. just as easily- but the first love is never quite forgotten, is it? And it's a pity that schools nowadays don't consider learning to write with a pen and paper such a priority as it was in the past. Children miss out on that special bond that's called "handwriting."
 
Medical research has shown that writing things down by hand has many benefits:

Using Pen And Paper, Not Laptops, Boosts Your Memory

Increasingly, UK police forces are using iPads to take notes and write up reports. My Cornish Detective knows that his brain in stimulated in healthy ways by writing down ideas in longhand, so he keeps a separate notebook to record evidence and theories. I gave him this trait from my own practice, for though I record 99.9% of my notes in folders on my laptop, if there's a particularly awkward decision to make about a plot twist, I jot it down on a scrap of card that I place on my writing table. Somehow, my brain works away at this, coming up with a solution; stuff that I record digitally I often forget, as if I've absolved myself of its existence.

I've noticed that the muscles in my hand which I use for writing longhand have weakened, as I do it so rarely. I used to get cramp when first using a mouse, back in 1999, though I've since built up tendons that would do credit to an eagle!
 
Like you Tim, I have some kind of "mystical" relationship with pen and paper. I can't explain it really but it "feels" as if thoughts flow from my mind through the pen unto the paper. However, as soon as I have something on paper I get it typed up immediately and then I start doing all my alterations. I have of course, learnt to compose on a p.c. just as easily- but the first love is never quite forgotten, is it? And it's a pity that schools nowadays don't consider learning to write with a pen and paper such a priority as it was in the past. Children miss out on that special bond that's called "handwriting."
The real irony is that at school I was often marked down in English because my handwriting quality was so bad the teacher couldn't read what I had written. :rolleyes:
 
With amazing foresight, bearing in mind it was the end of the 70s and very expensive personal computers were only just appearing, my science teacher told my parents not to worry because "people probably wont need to write much by hand in the future anyway."
 
My most disorganized client ever was poor dear Mal Peet. He’d write swathes of text, from various parts of the book, then pore over them for days, like a giant jigsaw, figuring out how to connect them up...

Thatś exactly what I do. I wish I knew how to do it better. Ive been trying to put my jigsaw puzzles together for years now.
 
Thatś exactly what I do. I wish I knew how to do it better. Ive been trying to put my jigsaw puzzles together for years now.

Just hope that your manuscript doesn't end up as the writing equivalent of Tim Klein's jigsaw montages!

Jigsaw Puzzle Mashups by Tim Klein (9 Photos)


montage-puzzle-art-tim-klein-7.jpg
 
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Help Please! Your Character’s voice

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