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Hand Written

Stevens-Mark
Mark Stevens

True exchange on Twitter.

(Name of e-book author changed to protect the innocent.)

@rjstewart tweeted: “Great to know another Denver writer! Any plans to put your book on Kindle? It looks great!”

@writerstevens tweeted back: “My publisher says any week now. Wish I could read yours but don’t own a Kindle.”

@rjstewart tweeted back: “I will be on the lookout, Mark. BTW, an avid reader these days without a Kindle is like a writer without a computer. ;-)”

@writerstevens tweeked back: “Makes sense. I write by hand!”

@rjstewart replied: “So you’re the one!”

Write by hand? Yes, write by hand. I know I’m not alone. I have run into many others who are with me in the pen-and-paper camp.

By the way, pen?  Not just any pen. I have had favorites over the years. The basic Bic had its day. But my current personal preference is a uni-ball. http://bit.ly/oIDZZo (I think the lower-case is official, so I’m going with it.)  I like the “Vision Elite” model. I prefer the “bold” tip. I like blue. I love the design. And I absolutely adore the smooth flow of ink from that tip.Ahhhh. Like buttah.

One more thing: it’s the sound of the pen scratching the paper. I can feel the tip on the page. It’s tangible, visceral, real.

Here’s what I really like about writing by hand: it slows me down.  My storytelling head doesn’t work fast enough for a computer. I don’t like that flashing horizontal black line in Word. It’s diabolical, staring back at me. Blinking tirelessly. Who programmed that thing? A psychopath. No question about it.

The love affair started on an airplane. I wrote my first novel in the 1980’s when I kept a heavy travelling schedule for work. Long flights. Long layovers. Long waits. Stuck in Cleveland for a four-hour mechanical? I’ll give you four pages of dialogue. Circling LaGuardia waiting for the fog to lift? I’ve got our action scene right here. This is years before laptops, of course, but I did have a portable cassette player to create my own bubble of concentration in the sky. And I filled up the notebooks.

Writing by hand is portable. The notebook goes anywhere. Swimming pool bleachers waiting for practice to finish. Coffee shop for a few quick ideas and a caffeine-inspired image or two. A mountain cabin where there’s no handy electrical outlet and you want to put the chair in the right spot on the back porch to catch some summer sun.

The notebook is discreet. It’s part journal (jot down a quick idea) and part solid first draft. When it’s finally time to upload to a computer, I’m re-writing and thinking through and that damn horizontal flashing black line doesn’t quite have as much angry power over my outlook on life.

Any downsides? None that I know of, other than trying to decipher that gnarled-up penmanship. Man, that’s some ugly stuff.

Follow me on Twitter: @writerstevens

The result of all the scrawling are two Colorado mysteries, Antler Dust and Buried by the Roan, the first two books in the Allison Coil Mystery Series. More at www.writermarkstevens.com orwww.buriedbytheroan.com I also post book reviews at: http://markhstevens.wordpress.com

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