Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Tallest Stories: Manuscripts Offer

When I began writing fiction in the early 1980s I wrote it exclusively longhand. Even when I managed to get hold of a typewriter a few years later I still wrote stories in longhand and then typed them up. I can’t recall if I ever tried to write a new story by directly typing it onto a page. I’m fairly sure I didn’t. The amount of correction fluid required would have been prodigious.

I acquired a fairly basic word processor in 1993 and that’s when I finally began writing stories using a keyboard instead of a pen; and as a consequence my stories became longer. I switched to using a proper computer in 1998 and the vast majority of my fiction has been composed on a keyboard. However, I still haven’t entirely abandoned writing stories longhand.

I’m not sure what motivates me to write certain kinds of tales the old-fashioned way. Maybe a desire for relative simplicity (I tend to be less wordy when using a pen). But the upshot of all this is that I have plenty of handwritten manuscripts lying about, filling boxes and stuffed into cupboards or chucked into dark alcoves and all but forgotten about.

Some of these manuscripts are tales that are due to appear in my forthcoming collection Tallest Stories. Publication of this book is imminent, I’m happy to report. And it occurred to the publisher that it might be a nice idea to give away a selection of manuscripts with the first few books sold. Indeed, he has decided to issue a “collector’s edition” of 26 lettered copies.

I agreed this was a good idea and so I have put together 26 ‘lots’ of material to be offered. As well as handwritten manuscripts, I am also making available some of my paintings and drawings, plus a few rare chapbooks and also an advance galley of one of my other books. I’ll put a full catalogue of items on this blog very soon. The publisher will start accepting orders on January 5th at 18:00 GMT.

A lettered edition won’t cost any more than a normal copy. It’s just a case of first come, first served. Each one will be signed and personalised (if desired). Check out the Eibonvale website for more details. By the way, the above photo shows the manuscript of a story dating from 1993. In financial terms, at the moment, my manuscripts are fairly worthless, but in the future... who knows?

It's interesting that you find longhand makes you less wordy. I think the opposite may be true in my case. I appear to be one of the few writers left who still writes every first draft of a story out in longhand first. I can't actually compose fiction on a computer. It doesn't seem to work for me.

There's some redundancy in one of my sentences there. I'm sure you can spot it.
Actually, what I meant by 'less wordy' was 'less complex'. My handwritten stories tend to be more conventional and rely less on OuLiPo style tricks and stuff...
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