Andrew Pyper

.I heard literary thriller writer Andrew Pyper give a reading and talk last week, in Eganville, as part of the annual Bonnechere Authors Festival there. I could relate to a lot of what Andrew said: that with each novel he writes, he puts more time into the outline before beginning (check), that he works first thing in the morning (check), that he doesn’t emerge until his daily word-quota is met (check) (except that I break for a bowl of cereal at 500 words and then go back).

All authors litter their route with note pads and pencils: there’s nothing more frustrating than having an idea and no place to record it. Andrew takes it one step further: he keeps a digital recording device, so that he can dictate ideas as they come, while driving, in the shower, etc.

I love tech gadgets, and so I bought a recorder—a dictation device is the proper name—for under $40. I plan mainly to keep it in the car, where it can be dangerous to write down thoughts … and where thoughts so often come.

The recorder’s first task was an unexpected one, however. I was finishing my chapter this morning (the third this week: right on schedule) when the word processing programme froze. I could see the page I had just written, but I had no option but to reboot and I knew I was going to loose it. So I got the recorder and dictated the passage. I then restarted the computer, played back the recording, typing it in anew. All was well.


It’s the type of thing that reminds me how painful it can be to have work disappear. I wouldn’t have lost much: I save, back up regularly, and, with every break I take, email the MS to myself. (Yes, paranoid.) However, loosing even a paragraph is painful—vomitous writing, Colette called it—and I’m relieved to have survived this morning’s crash with only a scare.