Wayside Gardens: Internet Authors Don't Use Quills

In the 1980s I was a member of an active writing circle. We were discussing that old chestnut, 'how to write', and one member proudly said that he couldn't be bothered with these new-fangled word processors that were just about starting to appear in offices and homes. No, he said, he had an electric typewriter. That was good enough for him. It did all he wanted to do and produced submittable copy. He had got used to it, it suited him and he was happy to stick with it. Other, more modern members, saw the benefits of computer technology and were anxious to talk about which machine to buy, value for money, and suppliers. It provoked a lively debate. That is, until one member pointedly said: 'Shakespeare used a quill pen. That was good enough for him. If we aspire to wanting to write as well as the Old Bard, why don't we copy his methods?'Well, we don't, most of us. If you've seen that film, 'Shakespeare in Love', you will know that writing with a quill is awkward and messy. It's a skill that has to be learned from an early age, and not something to be dabbled with. Yes, England's greatest playwright used that method, but then, he didn't have a lot of choice. In one way he was very modern: he could write. A generation before, the only people in the country who could use a pen at all would have been the landed gentry and monks. Shakespeare was very lucky in having received an education, of sorts, and so could put pen to paper. The only alternative, then and earlier, would have been for him to make the stuff up and dictate it to someone who had the literary skills to record it. Even earlier, poets simply memorised what they created. We call them Troubadours, and imagine that that was a romantic age, forgetting the damn hard work that committing words to memory involves, (and the problems of trying to recall the words later ' think Bob Dylan).The answer, of course, is that writers have used all manner and means of 'writing' through the ages. That best-selling novelist Jeffrey Archer is very proud of the fact that he drafts all his works by hand, then gives them to a selection of secretaries to put on word processor, then works with an Editor at his publisher to buff up the draft and turn it into saleable copy. One of the most prolific authors of modern times, the creator of Perry Mason, Earle Stanley Gardener, never wrote a single word down in his life. He spoke every paragraph of all his novels into a Dictaphone and then again, paid a secretary to take the tapes and type them up for him. The best-selling romantic novelist Barbara Cartland used to lie in luxury on silk covered sofas and was accustomed to speaking her words into the scented air in front of her. A secretary was sitting behind her, out of sight, taking down the prose in shorthand. Ho hum, a rich variety. Take your pick.In modern times, we have moved on, (or so we pretend). However, be warned: a computer, or dedicated word processor, is no longer the height of sophistication and the way of the future. It all depends, you see, on where the words are going, I mean, who you are planning to send them to. The problem for modern authors is that most of them still assume they have to deal with very old-fashioned Traditional Publishers. These business people haven't moved on since the 1930s. They still expect writers to send them printed copy, probably a sample chapter and a synopsis if you are a novelist. From the point of view of this kind of publisher, it doesn't matter what manner or means were used to produce that copy, it's all good. Dictaphone, secretaries, computer or even electric typewriter, it all comes out as black print on white paper, and as long as it's double spaced and single sided, it meets their requirements ' well, as least as far as submission rules are concerned. There is still no guarantee that your neatly printed proposal will be accepted, or even looked at. It rather depends on who you are.Meanwhile, back in the present, the twenty first century, Internet Authors are finding the whole process has grown increasingly irrelevant. Since they don't have to ever print out anything, and can move their computer files directly to a print-on-demand publisher like Lulu.com on-line, there is no question of doing anything else. They sit down on their home computers, create the stories and novels, and upload them electronically. The only time the words are ever printed out is when the final publication is produced and the book is mailed to your home. In that all-encompassing process, there is no need for any middlemen, even if they are attractive secretaries, and no need for other methods ' apart from the keyboard. Some time soon that may go as well, in which case Voice Recognition software will remove another stage in the process. Then, all you do is talk to your computer, and after some juggling around on the computer screen, a book will arrive on your doormat.The production process, therefore, has become meaningless to the Internet Author. The only step you have to take is to get the ideas out of your head and onto a computer screen. Everything else follows. Of course, that doesn't guarantee quality. Back to the 1980s, and one Traditional Publisher complained that 'young men' had read about the success of Jeffrey Archer in their magazines and seen pictures of him sitting with his secretaries in front of a word processor. 'I've got one of those', they said to themselves, 'It doesn't look so hard', and they would sit down and try and churn out a 'best seller', just like Jeffrey did. They failed. After several attempts, they might have had to admit that they weren't the 'born story teller' that Lord Archer always claims to be. Maybe that's a good thing. Computers and the internet make writing and publishing easier, which means, as time goes on, it will also be easier to find the good writers, the imaginative authors, and the ones with something to say. Others may drop by the wayside, but it will be because they are unreadable, it won't be because the technology has diverted them into thinking that having a quill pen in your hand can make you an immortal poet. [EXTRACT] In the 1980s I was a member of a circle of active writing. We were talking about the old saying, "How to Write", and a proud member, said he could not be bothered with these processors that newly minted words were about to start showing up in offices and homes. No, he said, had an electric typewriter. That was good enough for him. He did everything he wanted and produced a copy submitted. She had been accustomed to it, it suited him and was happy to stay with her. Other, more modern, I saw the benefits of computer technology and were eager to talk about what machine to buy, value, and suppliers. This provoked a lively debate. That is, until a member deliberately, said: "Shakespeare used a pen. That was good enough for him. If we want to want to write as well as the old bard, why not copy their methods? "Well, we do not, most of us. If you saw the film" Shakespeare in Love ', you know that writing with a pen is awkward and messy. It's a skill to be learned from an early age, and not something that raid. Yes, the greatest playwright of England, used that method, but then did not have much choice. In a very modern way: you could write. A generation earlier, the only people in the country that could use a pencil to all who have been landlords and monks. Shakespeare was very fortunate to have received an education, class, so you could put pen to paper. The only alternative then and before, have been for him to do things and give to someone who had the literary skills to save it. Even before the poets simply memorized what they have created. We call troubadours, and imagine that it was a romantic era, not to mention damn hard work the commission of the words to mind is, (and the problems of trying to remember the words later, "Bob Dylan) . The answer, of course, is that the writers have used all kinds and means of "writing" through the centuries. That the best-selling novelist Jeffrey Archer is proud of the fact that the drafts all his works by hand and then gives a selection of the secretaries to put in a word processor, then an editor working with your editor to polish the draft copy and make it marketable. One of the most prolific writers of the modern era, not the creator of Perry Mason, Earle Stanley Gardner, wrote a single word in his life. He talked all the paragraphs in all his novels on a Dictaphone and then again, paid a secretary to take the kinds of ribbons and up for it. The best-selling romantic novelist Barbara Cartland was sleeping in luxury silk covered sofas and used to speak their words in front of her perfumed air. A secretary sat behind her, out of sight, taking the prose in abbreviated form. Ho Hum, a rich variety. Take your pick.In modern times, there has been (or so intended). However, be warned: a computer or dedicated word processor is no longer the height of sophistication and the way forward. It all depends, you see, where the words go, I mean you are planning to send a. The problem for modern authors is that most of them still assume they have to deal with very old fashioned traditional publishers. These businessmen have not changed since the 1930's. They still expect the writers to send a copy, probably a sample chapter and synopsis if you're a novelist. From the point of view this type of editor, no matter what form or means were used to produce the copy, everything is fine. Dictaphone, secretaries, computer or electric typewriter, which everything goes black on white paper, and while it is double spaced and single sided, that meets their needs "and, at least as regards submission rules are concerned. Still no guarantee that your proposal carefully printed will be accepted, not even look. Rather, it depends on who you are.Meanwhile, back in the present, the twenty-first century, the authors have found Internet throughout the process has become increasingly irrelevant. I do not ever have to print anything, and you can move your computer files directly to a print on demand publisher, Lulu.com on-line as, it is not to do anything else. They sit on their personal computers, creating stories and novels, and electronic load. The only time the words are printed every time is when the final publication is produced and the book is mailed to your home. In the process, all-encompassing, there is no need for intermediaries, although attractive secretaries, and without other means' away from the keyboard. Some time before he can do as well, in which case the voice recognition software will eliminate a new stage in the process. Then all you do is talk to your team, and after some juggling on the computer screen, a book will doormat.The production process, thus meaning has become the Author of Internet. The only step to take is to get the ideas of the head and a computer screen. Everything else follows. Of course, that does not guarantee quality. Back to the decade of 1980, and a traditional publisher complained that "young people" had read about the success of Jeffrey Archer in his magazines and I've seen pictures of him being with his secretaries in front of a word processor. "I have one of those" they said to himself: "It seems so difficult," and they would sit down and try to foist a 'best seller', as did Jeffrey. They failed. After several attempts, which could have had to admit that they were "born story teller" that Lord Archer always claims to be. Maybe that's a good thing. Computers and the Internet make it easier to write and publish, which means that as time passes, it will also be easier to find good writers, imaginative authors, and those who have something to say. Others may fall into the road, but it will be because you can not read, because the technology is not diverted them to think that having a pen in hand can make a poet immortal.
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