Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One Question, With Annalisa Crawford

I am unforgivably late getting this post up today, and as such, I owe a HUGE apology to today's guest, author Annalisa Crawford, but please, now enjoy this very cool post on a very cool topic very close to my very cool heart...pens, and the stories we write with them.


You. I. Us. is a collection of vignettes, small scenes which hint at the story beneath.

Annalisa has taken that idea to another level, because she asked 15 bloggers to ask her one question each, creating small insights into her life and writing.

Here's mine:

Obviously, all of our manuscripts eventually end up typed, but what is your preferred writing method? Are you 'old-school' and like to use pen (or whatever writing utensil of your choice) and paper, or do you trend toward more modern methods of writing (i.e., Scrivener, voice dictation programs, or other things I can't think of because I like pen and paper)?

Hi M.J.

My first draft is usually written using a fountain pen while I curl up on my sofa (watching Murdoch Mysteries). It was a present for my 21st birthday, and for years I didn’t use it because it was too special. When I started writing with it, I started to get published! There’s something special about using it in a blank notebook. It’s a great way to clear my head from the last project, and I find watching the flow of ink helps my inspiration. Also, by not having to turn on my laptop, I avoid all the normal Facebook/email/Twitter procrastination techniques.



Once the draft is down, I transfer to computer using that time to completely redraft and add a lot. I use Word to do that. Then I print it out and use loads of different colours to scribble all over it, therefore redrafting and adding to the story again.



Finally (and this is where you might look at me as though I’ve gone mad), I open a blank manuscript and rewrite from the current draft. I have both documents open side-by-side. And it’s amazing how many improvements you can make, and how many problems you spot when type it out from scratch. I’ve doubled the word count on the first half of my current WIP!

***

You. I. Us.
Publication date: June 10, 2016
Genre: Short Stories (Single Author)


In You. I. Us., Annalisa Crawford captures everyday people during  poignant defining moments in their lives: An artist puts his heart into his latest sketch, an elderly couple endures scrutiny by a fellow diner, an ex-student attempts to make amends with a girl she bullied at school, a teenager holds vigil at his friend’s hospital bedside, long distance lovers promise complete devotion, a broken-hearted widow stares into the sea from the edge of a cliff where her husband died, a grieving son contacts the only person he can rely on in a moment of crisis, a group of middle-aged friends inspire each other to live remarkable lives.

Day after day, we make the same choices. But after reading You. I. Us., you’ll ask yourself, “What if we didn’t?”

About the author

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, a dog and a cat. Annalisa writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories. She has been winning competitions and publishing short stories in small press journals for many years, and is the author of Cat & The Dreamer and Our Beautiful Child.

Find her online at: www.annalisacrawford.com

30 comments:

  1. Thank you M.J :-) All the stories in You. I. Us. were written with that very pen!

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    1. I love that! I write most of my stuff by hand, too, but the pen varies based on my mood. And you're so right about that side-by-side technique. I do that a lot, and I'm always amazed by what I find. :)

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  2. Cool you have a special pen.
    I used to write on paper first, but after writing my second book during NaNo, I switched to the computer. I'm just as slow either way.

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    1. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go totally electronic, although I have started to do one round of edits on my Kindle - the one just before I submit.

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  3. excellent writer question. I love the idea of the special pen. I pretty much use the computer but I'm a constant delete and rewrite person. I really need to try to write without constant worries...let it flow,...and then edit. Maybe I need a super pen. Good post - thanks for asking that question

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    1. I can happily delete and rewrite, it just uses up more ink! An ink pen, especially, has a lovely flow to it.

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  4. Liz at Laws of Gravity rec'nd you as having a weaponry arsenal. Not really, but my husband loves to fondle daggers and such at big faires. We went to huge Irish Faire last wkend, and he again caressed to his heart's content.
    I keep ideas and notes and pre-writing in journals all over the house. Have filled a goodly number.
    Good to meet you.

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    1. My husband has been bringing home notebooks for me recently - I had loads of really lovely ones that I can't wait to fill :-)

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  5. Congratulations on the book, Annalisa! And I must admit that it's often difficult for me to write on my laptop too; I often tell myself that I'll just look at two or three people's Twitter pages. Half an hour later...

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    1. Oh yes, it's so easy to get sidetracked - I've considered using that app which prevents you using the internet at certain times, but sometimes I have legitimate research questions I need answers to, so that would just frustrate me!

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  6. Hi MJ - great to see Annalisa here. That's wonderful you can use your 21st present ... I have to admit I can now only write on the machine ... and amend that way too - but well done on having found a happy route for your books.

    Good luck with the book .. cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. The nib got bent a few years ago and I was distraught - Hubby did some emergency surgery, thankfully. (I cried real tears!)

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  7. If only we all had a magic pen that would get us published. Congratulations Annalisa!

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  8. I tend to start out with pen and paper before moving to the computer. Sometimes I grab a notebook, other times scraps of paper. I pretty much have pens all over the house. Nothing fancy but they all get the job done. :)

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    1. I had a lot of pens too, and my kids still wander around asking if I've got a spare one!

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  9. Grats Annalisa! I have a fountain pen I never use (for the same too special reason). Unfortunately, I don't like writing by hand, so I don't think using it would help me like it did you. :)

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    1. I still write really neatly on the first page, just like I did at school. I think that's part of why I like it so much, it harks back to easier times :-)

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  10. I did that with my first novel--paper to computer method. It makes creating the second draft cake because you're already moving the words, but at the same time, wow. It's a ton of work. I only did it once. All the barely discernible notes in the margins drove me crazy (because I'm always editing). BUT, I do love the feel of paper and writing words with a smooth pen. Ah, the good old days...

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    1. The notes in the margins are the best bits - all those brief sketches of ideas that you can shape into proper prose!

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  11. What a special pen! How cool that you still have it. I need to give that re-writing from the draft a try. I need to find better methods for revising.

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    1. My method seems convoluted, but it's amazing what kind of problems to can pick up on (and solve) when you start from scratch again. It doesn't seem like you need to change your methods though, Julie - your work is fantastic.

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  12. I miss writing by hand, but arthritis makes that untenable. Still, I always find the processes of other writers fascinating!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. That's a shame, Samantha. I have a wrist problem, sometimes, that means typing is difficult. Years ago, I regularly read a writing magazine that had a 'writers day' feature, and they always fascinated me too!

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  13. So cool about your magic pen! I love reading about other writers' processes too.

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    1. Ah, if only it really was magic... I could do with it on my difficult WIP at the moment :-)

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  14. Hi, Annalisa! Great to see you hear. Good luck with your latest release.

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  15. I do something similar in retyping stuff I've already written. I thought I was crazy to do it that way. Glad to know I'm not alone.

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    1. Yay, I'm not alone either! I still think it is crazy, but in a really good way ;-)

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