Power transcription

Tuesday morning I wrote over 4,000 words.

It wasn't even for my novel (no cheating!), just for practice. What did I write? "Surface if you can" by Terry Champaign.

That short story is one of my favorites. It also isn't in any ebook that I'm aware of and Champaign had a very limited writing career. The exercise had the dual purpose of creating a digital copy I could have with me as well letting me experience a little taste of the process of committing a complete story to the page in one go.

The tradition of copying a writer's work has been practiced by such authors as Hunter S. Thompson when they were starting out. I wouldn't want to copy an entire novel, as Thompson did with The Great Gatsby, but typing out a favorite story draws your attention to the little details: the use of punctuation, word choice, all of the things that you'll be struggling with when you set down to write your novel in November.

At first it seems very silly, to copy a perfectly good story by hand. But don't forget that this tradition is even older than Dr. Thompson and Fitzgerald. For thousands of years monks and scribes have hand copied sacred texts. The story you or I pick may not be an illuminated text, but the process and focus required is illuminating in it's own way.

When I had finished, I felt a certain sense of achievement. I saw the story with fresh eyes and was glad that I had done what I did. 

Right now, pick a short story you enjoy. Open up your word processor and start typing it out.

Write now.