Paper calls me back

This is my writing area, paper consumed.

A while ago I wrote about how Scrivener was the perfect tool for drafting a novel. I need to revise that statement. Scrivener is the best electronic tool. Why the qualification? Because ordinary paper always, always calls me back. 

Scrivener is a dream for drafting, especially for someone (ahem…) who likes to make heaps of lists and obsessively subdivide her material into reorganizable chunks. I also love the cleanness of being able to move through hundreds of files in a single pane without those pesky Word windows piling up and misbehaving.

But… After all my elaborate folders, character files, and color-coded classifications and comments, in the end, I need paper. For the current revision, I am working between Scrivener and a paper draft that I have manually cut and paste onto colored construction paper to sort out the development of different plot threads. With paper, I can surround myself with something material·and feel the power to move the pieces around and assess the changes.

I think there is a touch of fetishism in this method. I get an actual thrill from laying things out on paper–especially paper filched from one of our Texas host’s amazing scrapbooking stash. Our two-year-old Liam knows what I am talking about. Recently he learned to open doors and, while we were playing hide-and-seek, let himself into the strictly off-limits scrapbook room. (Anyone who has ever SEEN the quantity of scissors and sharp things involved in making a scrapbook will understand the prohibition.) His words upon entering the room?

“Whooa, papel!”

I feel much the same way. Paper is, quite simply, this writer’s best friend.


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