writing

The Value of Cryptic Notes

There was one good thing about the week or so I spent on business stuff: My brain seems to have solved the plot problem I was wrestling with before I had to put the writing on hiatus. There was something I wanted to have happen, but it was mutually exclusive with another thing I wanted to have happen. When I was reviewing my notes yesterday, I couldn’t quite decipher what I’d written, mostly why I’d suggested something, and I misinterpreted it, but then the misinterpretation turned out to be the solution to the problem because it put one of the things I wanted to have happen in a different place, which allowed the other thing to happen.

Hooray for bad handwriting, cryptic notes, and time away to forget what I originally meant.

I suspect that I get more good ideas and solutions out of bad handwriting and cryptic notes than I lose brilliant ideas because I can’t read or understand them later. It’s not so much the original idea that’s so brilliant as it’s the idea that comes after I’ve had a chance to mull it over, and that idea tends to come from attempting to decipher the cryptic notes.

Bad handwriting is also a good source of fantasy names. I may have written “Mike,” but it ends up looking like “Melke,” which is a decent fantasy name. It would be fun to write an entire book where all the characters are named based on attempts at deciphering my handwriting.

I am so fortunate to live in the day of personal computers. I was watching a documentary on Jane Austen and how she wrote, and I’d be doomed if I had to write and submit my manuscripts in longhand.

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