Monday, March 5, 2012

Are Fountain Pens Obsolete?

By Evelyn David

I recently was given an iPad. I feel like the coolest Grandma in the world. As hip as my twenty-something daughter.

When my husband and I were looking for a cover for the iPad, he asked if I wanted one that had a built-in, traditional keyboard, rather than use the touchscreen of the iPad. I declined. I actually don't think I'll be writing any Brianna stories on it. I see the gadget more for email exchanges on trips, web searches, reading, and of course, all the games. I'm already in a Scrabble match with a complete stranger from Australia.

But as I was writing thank you notes for this marvelous gift, composing the words on my computer, I realized that I had made the complete transition. I can't "create" without a keyboard. Writing the notes in longhand is part of the legacy of childhood and good manners. But finding the right words before I put pen to paper has to be done on a computer.

I can remember learning to type on a manual typewriter – and thinking that an electric one was nothing short of a technological miracle. But it was when we got our first computer that I discovered the real miracle. Word processing, with the cut and paste option, made revisions, if not a snap, then at least, manageable.

No longer was I burdened by the concept that those pearls I had crafted, word by word, would be lost forever if I decided to cut a paragraph, scene, entire chapter. Instead, I could neatly cut the offending words out of the paragraph, save them, and even use them in another book, if that's what I wanted.

When I told the Southern half of Evelyn David my idea for a blog, she joined in the Hallelujah chorus. "I don’t think I would have started writing without the computer. I can think fiction and type at the same time – can’t write long hand and think fiction. Total disconnect."

How about you? How dependent are you on your computer for your writing?

Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Sullivan Investigations Mystery - e-book series
Murder Off the Books Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords


  1. Back in the day, when I was a kid dreaming of becoming a writer, I wrote on yellow legal pads. And then I wrote on the electric typewriter I got for Christmas one year--one of those ones that you could backspace and lift a letter off the page (so cool).

    But during my first writing internship (with a newspaper in CT), my editor told me to write straight into the computer. It took some getting used to but there's been no looking back.

    I still jot story notes on paper (never did make the transition to doing those on the computer), but other than that, it's computer all the way.

  2. I've never written on anything other than a computer, so I couldn't imagine writing fiction on a typewriter (papers in college took so long to finish!) or even longhand. I used to have really nice penmenship (the nuns used to grade us on this in school!). I do write "notes" on notecards, but I have to admit sometimes I can't read my own writing!

  3. Thanks Laura and Maria.

    I wonder if they will continue to teach "handwriting" in school? Printing yes, but handwriting -- not sure if it will become obsolete as younger and younger students are using computers for word processing.

    What do you think?

  4. Some of my earliest stories were written long-hand but writing on a computer has certainly made the process speedier. I went to "upgrade" my phone over the weekend (which was about to cost me $100 until I put the kibosh on the whole deal) and was offered an iPhone but I need the keyboard of a BlackBerry to really be able to email effectively. It's funny how the things we never had or never knew we needed we suddenly can't live without. Maggie

  5. I used a typewriter and carbon paper (anyone even know what that is?) back when I began writing. Still take notes, always use a pen, never a pencil. Don't you need a pen to autograph books? Asked my great-granddaughter if she was learning cursive writing and she immediately showed me she already knew. I have heard in some schools they aren't teaching it--sad.


  6. The question was: Are fountain pens obsolete?

    The answer is: YES. That doesn't mean that writing is "obsolete"