Handwriting Your Book – Choosing a Pen

authors fountain pen pen-631321__180Back in December, I wrote about handwriting your book before typing it on the computer. We had quite a lively discussion about it, and I was pleased to see that many authors share my love of pens and the way they feel and write. In that vein, I decided to do a little round-up of pens.

Let me note here that I did not go out and buy every pen that people mentioned in the comments of that post. Writing the article, however, and the comments that followed did provide enough momentum for me to finally restock my dwindling supply of pens. In addition to that, my husband bought several different kinds and stuffed my Christmas stocking with them, so I am now well supplied. Here are the top candidates in my limited and very biased study.

pens for writers 1The first one is the Wexford Gel Ink Pen in black. This has a metal point and the gel flows nicely onto the page. Nice, crisp ink, easy to read. It has the thicker padded grip if you like that sort of thing. I prefer a more slender pen. I found these in my stocking on Christmas morning and have no idea of the cost. Amazon doesn’t have them.

Second one is an old standby, the Pentel Rollerball pen. Again, a metal point with the micro rollerball. I’ve always found these to flow easily, but noticed that the ink isn’t very dark. It could be that this is one I’ve had for a while, so it might be drying up. This is a fine point, and the medium point might be darker and more legible. Personally, I hate medium points; I go with the fine points every time. The Pentel Rollerball costs $18.60 for a dozen at Amazon.

pens for writers 2Number 3 is the Monami Plus Pen 3000, a plastic tipped pen with a chiseled point. I love this kind of pen point. I don’t know why, but I love the fact that you can write thick or thin with it, depending on how you hold it to the paper. Some might not like the scratchy feel, as it doesn’t glide like a gel or rollerball. They’re cheap: only $5.99 for a dozen at Amazon.

Number 4 is the Sharpie Pen, Fine Point. This is different than the plain old Sharpie Fine Point marker. This really is a pen, and it has a metal point. I like this one well enough, but it doesn’t have the same quality as the Monami plastic tip. I got mine from Santa, but they are $4.97 for a four-pack of assorted colors at Amazon.

pens for writers 3My hands down favorite is the Pentel Sign Pen. This has the plastic point that I love, and since it’s slightly larger than the Monami, there is more variation on the thickness or thinness of the letters. And here I just said I don’t like medium points, yet this one is closer to a medium point than a fine point. Go figure. This is probably as close to a calligraphy pen as you can get without having the flat chisel tip. It’s the pen that inspires me to round out my letters and carry my flourishes to new heights. A steal at only $5.09 for a dozen at Amazon.

Since writing that earlier post, I’ve now started on my fifteenth book, and I’m handwriting it with a sign pen. I may never go back to the keyboard except when absolutely necessary.

Author: Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. She has been both traditionally and independently published and lives in a small community in northern Arizona. Learn more about Melissa from her Amazon author page and her blog.

25 thoughts on “Handwriting Your Book – Choosing a Pen”

  1. Ooh! I love this article, too, Melissa! I swear I could spend hours drooling over pens and inks, papers, blank books, notebooks, journals. (Alas, I have to use a keyboard these days.) Your hubs was so thoughtful to add a collection of pens to your Christmas stocking. (Btw, your handwriting is gorgeous!)

  2. Don’t write my books by hand, but I do journal, and I am an absolute pen freak. I am also left handed, and some pens that are fine for righties don’t work for lefties because we drag our hand through the ink and smear it. Live and learn.

      1. My father-in-law is left handed, and he has pens that are just for his use, with quick dry ink so they don’t smudge. I even saw a cool article about left-handed notebooks. I’m considering getting one for my son, who’s a lefty and hates the metal spiral marks left on his arm.

  3. I use pens all the time, but I think the last time I actually bought any was when my kids started high school. they’re in Collage now. Perhaps I overbought. When the stockpile from those finally runs down I’ll check out your suggestions.

    1. I can relate. I used to have so many pens, they overflowed the “junk drawer” in the kitchen. That fact, plus my husband mocking my “addiction,” led me to quit buying for many years, but now I’m back! Love my sign pen!

  4. I see that Uniball didn’t make your list. I generally write first and then type it out. That’s because I love to write.

    Do you think you’d do a highly-biased study of paper as well?

    1. I’d forgotten about the Uniball, but I like that one, as well. I must have used up my stash of those. I consider that very like the Pentel Rollerball.
      As for paper, I’m not nearly as captivated by that as I am by pens, so I don’t see a study on that forthcoming. You could certainly do one, though! I’m pretty much stuck on blue line and legal pads, just because I can carry a good amount of paper around quickly and easily.

  5. A pen! Seriously? How elitist! 🙂 I still keep pencils and notebook paper handy for those times a story idea or a passage for a current story abruptly blooms in my mind. I can definitely see the value of manually scribbling down the draft of a novel onto actual paper before converting it to a digital format (meaning MS Word.) It compels us to have greater appreciation for the millions of scribes who came before us and the agony they endured without auto-correct.

    1. LOL, Alejandro–I do not miss auto-correct in the least! I’m much happier crossing out and rewriting. I often end up with whole paragraphs crammed into the margins with arrows pointing here and there, but when I sit down to type it in, it’s fairly easy to follow. But you’re right; in some way it does feel more like the real work of writing. I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks!

  6. To add to the list, how about a good old Lamy Safari Rollerball? I’ve just bought five to put into my various bags. Okay they can be a tad expensive, but I’m talking UK prices here. I’m sure they might be a little cheaper in the US. I find they write as smooth as silk. Of course as well as the pen the paper has to be right, and for us stationary junkies that’s another list.

  7. I love to write with a fountain pen, I treated myself to an old 1950’s never been used Shaeffer last year and pen my morning stories and shorter muse type stories with it. I might take a look at the sign pen for longer works as it might be quicker. I tried going to straight to the PC but last year when back to handwriting all my drafts. Putting them on the PC now I see as part of the revision process so it’s not wasted time at all.

  8. I agree totally, Jo. When I’m typing yesterday’s work in, I often revise as I go, plus it gets me up to the present and ready to go again. I’ve never used a fountain pen, altho lots of people love them. I still gravitate toward the plastic point pens. Different strokes, right?

  9. My husband really loves pens, and he used to buy expensive pens and adore them.

    I do have a pen, I like for editing. A smooth flow is always really nice.

  10. It is funny that the feature photo for the post is a fountain pen, but none of the entries discussed is a fountain pen. I use the one Neil Gaiman raved about: Lammy 2000.

  11. (((snort))) Shout out to my fellow office supply nerds! lol Unfortunately, my favorite pens for taking notes and brainstorming are NOT the best options for book signings. My faves tend to smear or leave transfer. …not the fastest drying ink. So, yes. I do have separate pens for daily use and for book signings. 😉

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