Do writers prefer gizmos to the pen?

Mar 03, 2014, 09:31 IST | Kanika Sharma

We quiz five writers on whether they prefer new or old methods to write their manuscripts

Cyrus Mistry
Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer
I am not very comfortable with technology. Honestly, I find it as a kind of imposition. Even carrying a cell phone has been difficult, and I have been carrying one only for the last seven to eight years. I write on MS Word and even in that, there are things I still don’t know how to use. Before computers came, I wrote on a typewriter. I can’t write longhand, as my handwriting is bad. At times, just because everybody starts doing things a certain way, it becomes a compulsion but I don’t like to be bothered. I am over the hill and old fashioned; I do what I want.

Anuja Chauhan
Those Pricey Thakur Girls
I write on a MacBook Pro and I Google stuff for research, sometimes. It definitely makes things easier and smoother. Spell check, formatting and checking the word count is so easy. I don’t think I could write longhand anymore. I do, still write on a yellow pad with a pencil and eraser at times, but that’s only for short format stuff like an ad script or slogan or lyrics for a jingle. It’s more impulsive and organic, perhaps. But for a whole book I need a Mac.

Jerry Pinto
Em and the Big Hoom
I always write my first draft by hand. I don’t trust my speed when it comes to working on computers. Having been to a typewriting school and typing for the last 30 years, my speed is very fast. During typing, excess of words happens whereas writing on a notepad instills forced physical labour; thereby, making each word measured. I honestly mistrust technology, as I want my writing to have some shelf life. 

Bilal Tanweer
The Scatter Here is Too Great
Word processors thin out my prose because I am able to write quickly, and it negatively affects the intensity and rhythm of my writing. I write substantial parts of my work longhand in my notebook. While writing fiction, I write in my notepad, until it reaches a point where I feel the rest just needs to be “filled in,” I switch to keyboards and word processors (I use Scrivener, which helps me organise long projects; for short essays, I stick to Word). 

Ravi Subramanian
The Bankster
Writing sans technological tools available these days is unimaginable. Since I juggle two careers, every minute is precious. I write at airports, on flights, lounges, at times, even while waiting to pick up my kid (from school). Without technology I can’t manage it. I write on my MacBook, my iPad and make notes on my iPhone. These devices are synced on iCloud to ensure that all I need is available when I write. I even made iCloud central to my plot in The Bankster.

George and George

George Clooney >> For Monuments Men, Clooney and fellow writer Grant Heslov wrote face to face. Clooney who happens to write longhand coordinated with Heslov who commits his thoughts on computer. After writing 20 pages or so, they’d pick parts and read them half and half to each other. 

George RR Martin >> Notorious for his sluggish writing, fans fear that
the HBO TV Series, Game of Thrones will soon catch up with the published works as Martin works on his second last book of the highly popular A Song of Ice and Fire books.


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