Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Automated Writers

Although Cyril Kornbluth lived only to age 34, the amount of material I had to review, absorb and fit into the life-and-career story that became C.M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary was fairly sizable. The book itself became sizable, too -- some 240,000 words, as I recall. I ended up doing much of the writing directly to electronic file. I regret this, since a few repetitions and other problems resulted that I might have avoided, had I fleshed it out on paper, first, at a more leisurely pace.

Although I type with some rapidity, I find that the slower nature of the manual typewriter, as against the faster electronic keyboard, results in cleaner, more interesting writing. The eye and mind are not hypnotized by the radiant screen. The light of day, usually, illuminates the page.

Handwriting sometimes goes more slowly but sometimes as quickly as typewriting; yet in the long run it may lead to the shortest writing times. Handwriting seems to lead the mind to produce its most thought-out, most interesting, most well-wrought sentences -- so that the time spent in rewriting is all the less.

For deadline writing, word-processing -- a term of significant homeliness, quite in keeping with our Age of the Masses -- has its advantages.

Yet as with other automations, it offers increased production of diminished-quality results.

I suspect our age, so prone to look down upon the productions of earlier ages, has produced record quantities of writing not worth reading.

Cheers ...

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