Where the Pen Meets Paper
Sorry, everyone, I’m not feeling terribly well. So this is a blast-from-the-past, but you’ve likely never seen it before. It was written 3-4 years ago for another blog, not my personal one.
A Blog, longhand.
I usually compose on the computer. Normally, looking at my writing blog, you all see a rough draft, essentially. I type it, scan it, and press publish. Here on ASM, you see a slightly more worked draft, but still not rewritten. I type into the WordPress box, and you get my train of thought, derailments and all. Rarely, you get one of what I consider my scholarly attempts, where I compose in a wordprocessor, research, add either citations or links, go over for internal consistency and grammar checks, and then post. Just what every English comp. student is taught to do, and so few people actually adhere to.
This post is something different. I don’t have access to a computer (I’m in class. Composition class, as a point of fact.) so I am writing longhand. I find when I compose in one medium and transcribe to another I add, delete, and generally change the text. When I take the time to compose outside the blog, those posts, to me looking back at them, look very different than the impromptu posts. I suspect by the time this particular text makes it to your computer screen, it will have been substantively altered.
When you write, capturing the urgency of the moment, your own voice and style, happens in the first contact of pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and with each re-working of the text, some of that is polished away. Yes, taking the rough edges off is a good thing. Re-organizing your thoughts may make an essay more readable. Finding internal inconsistencies will improve your story. However, taking it too far will polish away what is uniquely you, and leave behind something so bland your reader will walk away untouched by your emotions.
For that is the point, is it not? To convey to the reader some sort of reaction. In a story, to evoke a connection, some sense of your character’s humanity that reaches out from the page and whispers to them. In an essay, to create a philosophical thought. Not a knee-jerk sense of repulsion, although that can be a powerful tool if paired with some explanation of your reasons behind making your readers angry. Whatever you write, it is you, and however you draft your writing, be it paper, quill pen, or keyboard, let some of that which is essentially you, remain in the completed work. It will be richer and more powerful for it.
Since this is short, and you may want to read more… Or to see how I’ve handled some very emotional topics, check out this collection of space opera stories. (I really suck at self promotion, sorry.)
Five Space Opera tales, short stories and novellas with a foreward written by Peter Grant.
Tamashira has a dilemma. Stay with the ship and crew she knows, or risk being stranded on an unknown planet forever when the warp node goes out of resonance. Really, it’s not a hard decision to make. But then a girl is kidnapped and she must face her past or have a death on her conscience. Lira is a space scout. Like the mountain men of old Earth, she explores and blazes trails. But her duty has taken her to a very settled planet, to retrieve a young woman, and it’s no milk run.
Lissa looks to the stars, excited to leap off the Earth and into her destiny. But first, there is someone she has to see one more time.
A lonely young woman on a faraway planet tends her family and wishes she had someone to talk to, other than family. High above in a courier ship, a ship’s officer is about to learn how content she really is, even if she doesn’t feel that way…
Susan is not afraid of bugs. But when she makes a second contact with aliens, that lack of xenophobia might not be enough to keep her alive. The cat is, she learns, sometimes smarter than the human.
From the foreword by Peter Grant: “There is occasionally – all too rarely – a moment that comes when reading something new, a sort of mental frisson, when one realizes that one’s reading something special. This isn’t just another run-of-the-mill book or story, but something that is reaching out of the page and grabbing one by the throat and dragging one into its world and storyline, absorbing, entertaining, sometimes even enthralling. That’s what happened to me the first time I read Cedar Sanderson’s work. It was her novel, “Vulcan’s Kittens”, and I’ve never looked back from there. She’s one of the few authors whose work I’ll buy sight unseen, knowing that it’ll intrigue and challenge me and make me think.”
Or if you haven’t already picked up a copy, there’s a free ebook at my website, Twisted Mindflow. It’s a sampler of seventeen short stories (some of them very short).