Monday, November 9, 2009

How Do You Write? Sabrina Philips Shares Her Love of Paper and Pen

Author Sabrina Philips explains her writing process:

I’ve always enjoyed the physical act of writing. As a child I adored handwriting classes at school, loved writing long letters to pen friends, filling both sides of the notepaper until it curled up. One of the things that attracted me to my day job working at a Register Office was the prospect of writing marriage certificates with an old fashioned pen and ink.

I also feel at my most creative with a pen and paper, and when it comes to writing a book, I do a huge amount by hand – all my ideas, character sketches and planning. The story itself I do write straight on to screen though – for two reasons. My writing process involves pounding out a hideously messy rough draft to begin with, which isn’t always written linearly, so being able to just copy bits and paste them where they need to be as I go along is so much more practical. Likewise, the only way I can make any progress in the early stages of a book is by forcing myself to write a certain number of words a day. If I didn’t have a way of measuring word count and just told myself I needed to fill a certain number of pages in my notebook, I know the naughty child in me would just write bigger to fill the pages more quickly.

However, when I get stuck on a particular scene or piece of dialogue, I always go back to pen and paper. Maybe it’s because it’s slower than typing and it gives me more time to consider the words. Maybe it’s because if I hit a brick wall, doodling while I ponder the problem it’s far more likely to result in a solution than me quickly checking my email/Twitter/a blog ‘while I think’. Or maybe it’s because a pen scribbling over the page is the image I still most associate with being a writer. I’m not sure, but I do know it never fails to give me a fresh perspective.

So how about you, do you still write with a good old-fashioned pen and paper? Or has the image of ‘being a writer’ long been replaced by keyboard and screen in your mind? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Sabrina’s third book, Prince of Montéz, Pregnant Mistress is now on the shelves.


Alison said...

I love the physical act of writing too. I find it amazing to look at the words coming off a pen and think 'the only thing that puts them there is my brain'.

Debs said...

I love writing scenes in notebooks and always use a pen. There's something very satisfying about writing in ink.

Caroline Storer said...

Hi Sabrina. Great post. I'm a bit like you. If the wip isn't flowing on the computer I resort to pen and paper. And if I've come to a completer grinding halt half way through I've often skipped to the end of the ms and typed the ending/epilogue as that seems to be set in stone. I always have the beginning and end firmly lodged in my mind. Then, normally, the rest will come! Take care. Caroline x

Liz Fielding said...

I love notebooks, but I think I've forgotten how to write with a pen. The computer goes down and it's like I've lost an arm.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Stopping in to say hello Sabrina. Loved the Prince of Montez. Choices and trust plus passion, a very moving romance.

Sabrina Philips said...

Thanks for your comments and sorry it's taken me so long to reply - madly busy and then had a 72 hour power cut - nightmare! Alison, Debs and Caroline - lovely to see that I'm not the only one who likes good old-fashioned pen and paper at least sometimes. And Liz - gorgeous stationery is another reason why I love it too! Thanks for your kind words Marilyn, I'm delighted you enjoyed my Prince.

Take care, Sabrina xx

maryjane said...

olá Sabrina. Eu sou do Brasil e estou escrevendo um histórico 930 a C , o ATHAME CELTA e ele está escrito tudo á mão em meu caderno.So depois vou passar para o computador...Eu amo papel e caneta.Beijinhos

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