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Friday, August 21, 2009

Superstitions

I have this pencil, see. It is a very special pencil. It is kind of fat, but not like those big, fat, first-grader pencils I used once upon a time. However, it is thicker than the average pencil. Round, smooth and no ridges either. And no eraser.

Okay, so, I think the pencil is magic.

This Spring, I decided to let myself try writing something very different for myself. I had an idea, but it just wouldn't fit into a picture book (HA!) or a middle grade. The concept needed a little more freedom, more room to breathe. It needed to be written as a YA.

But I was kind of scared to try and write it. It was new to me and every time I sat at the keyboard, I froze up.

Enter Magic Pencil.

I decided that I was pre-editing too much. I wouldn't even let the thought reach the keys before I silenced it. So, I felt around inside my desk and grabbed the first pencil I could find, pulled out my composition book and started writing. (I always write picture books free-hand. Delete buttons are dangerous when shaping an idea. I like to see what I have crossed out, sometimes that is where the good stuff begins.)

This pencil has written every single word of this book, which is now about a third of the way done. I think of it as my little writing buddy. We're in this thing together.

Imagine my shock when I couldn't find it the other day!!! My special magic pencil!! Oh sure, there are other pencils....but this one is special. The one keeps the internal editor quiet. Maybe he says things like: "Oh, don't worry, Mrs. Editor, she's not working on anything you need to worry about....look, she's using me, a primary kid's pencil...serious writers use computers or fancy schmancy pens, not pathetic, fat, little yellow pencils. You can come back later, you know, say half an hour? Fine then."

Luckily, after tearing the room apart, I found him, under the couch. Whew!

But it started me thinking about my little writing superstitions:
*I am quite convinced that this "magic" pencil must write the entire book.
*I always copy down all of my ideas on the first page of a new writing book (my idea page) before I allow myself to write anything else in it.
*I always must begin a new writing book when there are at least 10 pages left in the old one. (For some reason, I must leave a few blank pages....?)

Writing superstitions, anyone?

9 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

I have so many superstitions. I have to buy the exact same notebook every time I run out of pages in the old one. It terrifies me to think of what will happen when they quit making it!

Corey Schwartz said...

Hmm... not sure i have any! Which is weird for a person who won't buy a baby gift until AFTER the baby is born!

Weronika said...

Oh, yes. Many.

I have an award waiting for you, Storyqueen!

Lisa and Laura said...

I actually don't have any superstitions. Is that weird? Probably.

I can't believe you're writing a book long hand! Your hand must ache!

storyqueen said...

Lazy-I have to write in composition books.....it has to have 100 pages.....weird.

Corey-I'm a bit superstitious about babies, too. And lots of other things...yikes!

Weronika-Thank you! You are so sweet. I have to be honest, though, I am not sure how to cut and paste the little blog thing....but know that I appreciate it!

L and L: What you have to understand is that it will take a while to write. Probably a long while.......ugh. But I've already typed a hundred pages of it so far, so that's good. (Even though I am blushing as I type it, because, you know, it's YA.)

Amy Tate said...

You know, I write free hand too, and I love the idea of having a pencil without an eraser! That's very empowering. And you're right! Lots of times I end up using something I've crossed out.
I have two grocery shopping weaknesses - the cleaning aisle, and the school supplies. I love anything lemon-scented and I love new boxes of unsharpened pencils. When I was in grade school, I couldn't wait to use a pen. But now that I'm an adult, I love writing with a freshly sharpened pencil. But now since I've read your post, I'm going to pull off all the erasers!!!
Don't give up on your search. I'm sure you'll find it. If you're anything like me, check the fridge.

Stephanie Faris said...

I don't have any with writing, but I wonder what happens when your pencil eventually runs all the way down???

Isn't it Stephen King who won't stop writing on the 13th page or any series of numbers that add up to 13, like page 76 or 94???

storyqueen said...

Amy- yea! another long-hander!!

Steph-Because the pencil is magic, I don't think it will run down until this book is finished...and I am only using it for this book, superstitious fool that I am.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I have an embarrassing amount of superstitions. I blame my aunt. And Marsha Brady. I didn't want to wash my hand after my dream editor shook it. I know, it could have gotten pretty gross. But cleanliness won out, and she hasn't called. Some of these superstitions make sense...