Have Word Processors Changed Storytelling?

Have computers and word processors changed the way we tell stories?

I was listening to the WTF Pocast with Marc Maron this morning and he was interviewing Bradley Whitford. I’ve admired Bradley since his days on The West Wing. Marc and Bradley were talking about how acting has changed since most shoots are now done digitally instead of on film or tape. Since there is no longer a finite amount of time and physical recording medium, shoots tend to drag out longer. This allows for the director to get candid things that they never would have gotten to when they were trying to preserve film.

Bradley made the connection to writing and compared it to the difference in writing on a typewriter where it is difficult to fix mistakes or to even writing long hand with a quill. Imagine the care you would take with your words if your medium was a chisel and stone.

Now of course computers and word processors allow us to write without the fear of correction and it has naturally lengthened the novel, which I am glad for. Fifty years ago a standard novel was weighing in at 50,000 words regularly. Brandon Sanderson has no fear of word counts.

I do believe there is something to be said for respecting the economy of words, but I am not trading in my keyboard anytime soon.

What do you think? Tell me below.

3 thoughts on “Have Word Processors Changed Storytelling?

  1. I’ve recently started to split the difference by writing my first draft longhand, then transcribing into Word. It’s been a vivid reminder of how much more focused you have to be with pen and paper.
    Plus it makes me feel smarter and it’s a good excuse to splurge on nifty little notebooks and really nice pens.

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