In high school I swore that I could only create long hand…that typing was just for corrections. In college I made the clunky transition to writing on the computer. At the time it seemed that every other writing article or author-interview question tackled which was better or more natural. Which way of writing was more real.
Did people go from cave painting to telling stories around the campfire with as much angst? Did oral storytellers bemoan losing a connection with the audience and fluidity of the story once people started committing pen to paper? Probably. But I think these groups of writers (in the largest sense of the word) had more valid complaints than battle between pen and keyboard. Those mediums changed storytelling in a fundamental way. Going from pictures to words changed the story from interpretation to telling, and going from something oral and ever-changing to something that, hundreds of years later, we can point to and say this is the one and only way it should be gives us a very different idea of what a story should be. The pen v keyboard debate boils down to the personal preference of the creator, but doesn’t change the story itself or how readers interact with it.
What is the next evolution of writing? In this TechCrunch article, Jordan Crook wonders about a future without keyboards. I shiver at the thought.
I’ve heard of (but never witnessed) people using speech-to-text programs to talk out their story, and in Ken Levine’s blog (check out my blogroll) he mentions that he and his writing partner would dictate to someone else.
I’ve always enjoyed the thought of walking around, spouting beautiful prose, but the way I write is much less free. Scratch that, the way I edit is much less free. I can vomit out some pretty bad prose, but then I stare at a word or skip around, reading a paragraph here and a paragraph there. I’ll change a word in a sentence, read the sentence again, change the word back, reread it, change the word again… I suppose I can see myself writing by talking, but not editing. So, that means I can’t fathom a keyboard-less future.
But let’s say we do go keyboard-less, does that change the storytelling or just how the tellers tell it?