Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tools of the Trade

by G.M. Malliet

In my first book, Death of a Cozy Writer, the highly successful cozy writer of the title has developed various superstitions over the years about what pen he will write with, on what paper he will write, and even in which direction he will face as he works at his desk (south). I exaggerate a bit (who me?) but I think many writers have their own little superstitions in this regard.

I discovered this plastic-nibbed Pentel pen some years ago and I don't think I could live without it now. It writes like a fountain pen, without the mess, and makes a little satisfyingly scratchy sound as it moves across the page. Sadly, it only seems to be available in the UK, so I always stock up there, although once I spent a small fortune to have a dozen pens shipped to me.

As to paper, I have gone through various attachments to different brands and styles, but my present close-to-ideal is pictured here, the Black n' Red. Perforated pages (so I can tear out those pages that didn't quite work out) and an elastic band to mark where I'm at. Lovely thick (recycled) paper that doesn't bleed through.
Not that I'm obsessive about this or anything, but it seems really, really important that I find the perfect notebook, and while I love the Black n' Red, the search for my ideal notebook continues. I seem to be physically incapable of passing by a paper store. I wish it were not so. I own way too many notebooks that somehow weren't...just right.

p.s. I am not being paid to endorse these products. I wish!


Keith Raffel said...

I remember the good old days when I wrote with a pen. No can do anymore. I need my trusty old IBM ThinkPad with the little red pointy button between the G & H keys that serves as a mouse.

Felicia Donovan said...

I'm with Keith. I dispensed with writing on paper a while ago in large part because it's easier to edit and because my hand cramps so easily.

Come to think of it, Janet Evanovich was just complaining about how her hand cramped when she had to sign thousands of books at a time. Somehow my problem isn't nearly that severe though I'd be willing to endure it...

Lynn Sholes said...

I used to not be able to write on a computer. It seemed just too sterile. There was something about a pad of paper and a pen that released that creative muse. But, after my time got crunched I started to compose on the computer and now can't make it happen with pen and paper. It's kind of like I used to love Coke and hate diet Coke. Made the transition, now regular Coke tastes too thick and syrupy.

G.M. Malliet said...

Just imagine the days when writers submitted hand-written manuscripts to their editors. It's a wonder anything ever got published.

I know that I'm in a shrinking minority but I swear I "think" better with pen and paper. Besides, I find sitting at a computer tiring, but scribbling in a notebook, less so.