Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going Old School - Dara Girard

When I was working on my latest release, ROUND THE CLOCK, I decided to go a little old school—way old school. I wrote some chapters by hand. Yes, not even by typewriter, by long hand. It was fun (laborious yes, but fun). Instead of the sound of keys clacking like hail against a window, I heard the smooth sound of a pen gliding across the page. If I didn’t like a word I just crossed it out. If I wanted to move a passage, I circled it and put an arrow to where I wanted it instead. I scribbled notes in the margins and sometimes drew pictures. The end results were mostly messy, (I have never been known for my penmanship), but it made writing like play again. It also allowed me to write a ‘draft’. I have discovered that sometimes computers can trick us into thinking that what you’ve just typed is the final product because everything looks so pristine and ready to go to publication. But seeing one’s own handwriting can help you feel and see the ‘draft’ of your creation: like sketching a scene.

Of course I can only indulge in this kind of free-wheeling activity when I’m not on a tight deadline because transferring pages to the computer takes up time. But, at a leisurely pace, writing long hand takes me back to when I was first learning to write —like writing a note in a card, a postcard or airmail letter instead of sending an email. And it seemed fitting to write ROUND THE CLOCK in this format because it’s about memories and dealing with the past. Sometimes going old school can take you to another place. Some twentysomethings are starting to bring back the vinyl record. I recently read in Poets &Writers about a man who collects typewriters. Our past is rich. And while I’m not against progress (trust me I have no need to know how it feels to write an entire manuscript long hand nor have my novel typeset by hand) sometimes going back can open new worlds.

What old school things do you sometimes go back to?

Dara Girard’s latest release, ROUND THE CLOCK, is the fourth and final book in The Black Stockings Society series about four women, one club and a secret that will make all their fantasies come true. Find out more on her website:


Linda Henderson said...

An old typewriter comes in handy ever now and again. I think my computer is so old that it would qualify (windows 98).

Emmanuelle said...

Interresting topic Dara.
I love to go old school for anything "kitchen" related. I decided some years ago to cook/bake everything from scratch. You won't find many things already processed in my house. There is something always satisfying making your own bread, pie crust, pizza dough... and so on ;-)

Mary said...

I still use my VCR.
I still have some Tapes with the 80's hair bands on them.