How to Write a Novel – 14 – Choosing a Medium

We’ve talked about a lot of key points in the actual writing process so far. Today, we’re going to get into something a little more technical, and that is choosing a medium to write with.

Pen and Paper

For the first medium, let’s go with the trusty old pen and paper. This format of writing can be very helpful to those more deliberate writers out there. If you take the time to perfectly construct your sentences as you write, or if you really think about your plot as you are moving forward, then there are many advantages in this for you. The writing goes slower, but you are also less likely to need many redrafts.

The format does have it’s disadvantages. If you are like me, and you don’t always know everything that is going to happen in your story when you start writing it, the writing process can be too slow. You’ll be running on a good flow of story idea, and you may find you lose some of it in the snails progression you make in one sitting.

Word Processors

The second medium is for you really fast writers. The ones of you out there who just catch that wave of inspiration – without cares to grammar or sentence structure: the word processor. This is great, because most of us writers can type a lot faster than we can write by hand (at least legibly).

For those of you who really have a hard time with going back and editing while you write, then it may also be a good idea to get a typewriter. This is a plus on many counts to the word processor. It gives you the same speed of production, and instant copy of the material, and it also frees you from things like spelling and grammar check. When it the rough draft stages, this is desirable. All your concerns should be on getting the story out. Remember, the real writing starts after the story is written.

Other Programs

For those of you who definitely like the word processor better, because you like to have a copy on the computer, there are also other options to the standard word processor. SpaceJock has written a large library of free writing programs. One I use is called yWriter. This program will allow you to save chapters and even specific scenes in separate files while still being able to see the novel as a whole. It also allows you to track which characters are in each scene with a time line which it generates itself. The neatest feature about it is, it also saves every draft you do of each chapter an scene in a separate file. This means you can easily go back and see previous drafts and change between them if you find you no longer like the changes you’ve made.

No matter what medium you choose to use for your rough drafts, all manuscripts will eventually need to be put into a word processor, and a very specific formatting will have to be followed when we start getting ready to send it out to agents. We’ll be talking about that in a much later post though. This is just a heads up. I truly recommend the word processor. It is the easiest, in my opinion, and most effective. However, different writers need different tools to get their best story out on the first go. Choose which you think will be best for you.