Behind “The Process”: writing by HAND vs. Typing

Writing by hand is the actual best.

When you write by hand, according to Joe Hill, “The only thing you have to entertain you is your own imagination.” Couldn’t agree more. No stimulus beyond what’s firing between your ears.

I’ve also heard (but not confirmed) that James Patterson writes everything by hand, then an assistant types it up for him.

And Ernest Hemmingway–although he was speaking about typewriters, not computers–thought it important to write first, then type. But he advocates for using a pencil. I like my G2 pen.

Anyway. . .

When it comes to the writing process, I don’t write out a storyline, I don’t use sticky notes, I don’t write character bios, or any of that kind of stuff. If you need to jumpstart your imagination, or if you’re still kind of new to writing fictional stories, those can be helpful. But I prefer to just start writing. I get an idea for an interesting character, then let it start flying.

Granted, that first free-write doesn’t usually make it through, it gives me a starting point. The book I just got back from my editor started with the core characters. I wrote about people, not a plot. Once I really got to know them through little doodle-stories, a bigger idea of what happens started to break through.

So if you’ve ever wondered, Should I write by hand or on the computer?, I recommend going at it by hand. Don’t have a plan. Just connect your brain to the page and let it fly. It won’t all be great, but it’ll point you in the right direction.

Have fun!

-CT

Christopher Tallon

Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five!

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Writerly Knick-Knacks and Whatnot

I’m not a big fan of knick-knacks per se, but I make exceptions. Or rather an exception. When it comes to writing, I like keep a little wooden duck named Curly nearby.

When I was maybe 12, I went on a fishing trip with family near Oscoda, MI, on Lake Huron. At the bait shop, I saw a little duck on the checkout counter, in front of the cash register. It was carved and painted by hand. Something about it caught my attention. My uncle saw me checking it out and bought it for me as a gift.

Two decades have passed and I still have Curly. I call him my writing partner. Whenever I have my laptop setup to transfer what I hand wrote (yes, I write all my stories by hand first), to edit, or whatever, he’s usually right there, just off to the side. Chillin.

How about you guys? Do you have a “writing partner” too?

Music, Beta Readers, and Other Stuff…

Hey yo!

Happy Friday to anyone reading this today (or any other Friday, I s’pose)! I like to share things I find awesome when I have the chance. So, in no particular order:

I don’t know about any of you writers out there, but I like to listen to music when I write. While writing my book Switchers I was introduced to the music of a local (Grand Rapids, MI) band, The Crane Wives. I can’t say enough about how much I like this band. My favorite song of theirs (currently) is High Horse. These guys are on tour right now, mostly in Michigan. If you get the chance to see them, do it. If not, just enjoy them from your home, car, or earbuds.

Now, on the subject of beta readers. If you’re thinking, The f–k is a beta reader?, then I’ll tell you. It’s a term for a person who reads your book and makes suggestions before you send the book off to the professionals. I have a few really good ones. I also had a few that didn’t really jump at the opportunity. I think that’s probably because I didn’t give everyone a great set of Dos and Don’ts. There are more articles about how to work with beta readers than you can imagine. If you want to get good feedback, Google “how to work with beta readers” and read a few of the many many articles that pop up. But most importantly, find someone who LOVES to read AND isn’t worried about hurting your feelings. My friend Mike is the perfect example of a beta reader. He reads constantly anyway, and he wasn’t worried about saying things like, I didn’t understand the significance of ________, or, I thought this part was too long and this part was too short. So find a person who can’t stop reading and is pretty straight forward with you on most things. If you look, you’ll find them. Some might be friends. Others might be coworkers. One of my beta readers is my wife’s coworker. She overheard my wife talking about how her husband is writing a book and she offered her services out of the blue. They are out there.

Since I’m in a good mood but need to make breakfast for my 2 youngest, I’ll make a short list of other things that are awesome for your enjoyment.

  1. Short’s Brewing Company, which is where I first saw The Crane Wives.
  2. Torch Lake Cellars, which is a great winery not too far from Short’s. They have the best hard ciders I’ve ever had. For real.
  3. Lord Huron, a fantastic band. I went to high school with 75% of the members. They were good guys then, as I’m sure they are now. My kids always ask me to play a little L.H. in the car. Their favorite songs are Fool for Love and Time to Run.
  4. Bring Dad a Beer Podcast. Two dads. Different beer each week. Guests. Fun conversation. Giveaways.

That’s it for now. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

-CT

If you like podcasts. . .

If you like podcasts, check out one of my favorites: Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered. It’s two guys, Ben and Jason, and they just talk about everyday stuff–the good, the bad, and, most refreshingly, the stuff people usually don’t openly talk about. It’s a real look at life. They’ve had some really cool guests (radio personality/podcaster Eric Zane; Sam, a transgender high school student who recently made the news; child abuse prevention advocate, and the force behind Wyatt’s Law, Erica Hammel; Mike Hamp, a recovering addict who founded Values Not Feelings; and more!) and, for whatever reason, have invited me to come on the show. I’m scheduled for mid-July!

So, if you’re looking for something new to listen to, try Threads Podcast.

Done(ish)

I finished writing Switchers (the first chapter is available right up in here) but the work isn’t done done. The manuscript is currently in the capable hands of my editor, JoAnn, at Twin Tweaks Editing. Once she finishes doing her magic, I’ll go through it and polish it off.

Now, I thought working on a book for almost 3 years was frustrating, but not having a book to go tool with is, honestly, causing a strange amount of anxiety in me. That’s why I’m writing this post; I have to write something. I don’t want to start my next project, stop, then go back to finishing off my current project. I bought a new pack of legal pads, and I get a funny feeling in my tum-tum every time I look at them, but the time is not yet upon me to endeavor on a new book. So, for now, I’ll spend my time and motivation to give my (formerly) sorry website a tune up and much needed attention, by way of some more regular blog posts and updates.