Technology and the soul

A jolly good question has been posed of me, which is this - Do I write my books in longhand or on a computer?  And why?

(Technically that's two questions, but call it a new year sale thing and I'll deal with both for the price of one.)

As with many answers, it's a simple one but with deeper layers.

The simple fact is that I write the acutal novels onto a laptop.  But, there's a but!  And it's this - there's an awful lot of longhand work that goes in first.

I'm aware more and more writers do just about all their work onto a computer; from planning a plot, to outlining the characters, to imagining, and even sketching out the settings.

But not me.  I like my notes to be handwritten.  I think scribbling away on pieces of paper, adding thoughts and ideas as they occur, crossing other bits out, then popping in loads of arrows to connect up various disparate themes just feels more appropriate.

It's a kind of link to the heart and soul, which is where the writing thing comes from.  I find if I try to think onto a computer, it acts as a barrier and takes away that creative random bouncing around of ideas which can be so essential.

Yes, I need the laptop to type the finished product - partly because my handwriting is so awful it would be impossible to translate otherwise - but that final writing of the book is often the more mundane part of the process. You're only formally setting down all the ideas which you've spent months preparing, and that's the fun bit. 

And as to how much scrawling goes into a book, before the hundred thousand words or so actually come together on paper?  It's usually about half to three quarters of an A4 notebook for me. 

Which shows you (despite what it may appear) that rather a lot of thought does go into the books. Promise!

I very much enjoy getting questions from readers, as they often make me think more deeply about what I'm writing, and why and how - and I can learn a great deal from that.  So, if there's a question you'd like to ask about the tvdetective books, or any area of my writing, education or careers work, please do get in touch.

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