Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Do Writers Touch-type Like Secretaries?

This is a serious question. They say that after he was well-established as a writer, Hemingway wrote 150 words a day. One reason is that before starting to write, he read every word of a story written up to that point. That means that by the time a lengthy piece was finished he would have read it hundreds of times.
Proving that Ernest and I have, or had, one thing in common, that's the way I write. I begin by reading a story from the first word, then add something to it. End of comparison between Hemingway and Ol' Stodg.
But about writers who are touch typists. Do they actually bang out copy at sixty words a minute? Do their brains work that fast? In my prime, my brain moved in the slow lane when I was seated in front of a keyboard. That's why I use two fingers and a thumb. The thumb hits that long thing at the bottom which I believe is called a space bar. Don't quote me on that.
Even during my newspaper days I used two fingers. With deadline at hand those two fingers were flying. So was the trusty right thumb. Most reporters were touch typists so I sometimes wondered if they had fast-lane brains. When my copy was all filed I'd watch someone else. This was most annoying for them if they happened to look up and found my nose a few inches from their keyboard.
My conclusion: they paused to think, then typed their thoughts. My two fingers seldom paused. Those fingers were moving as fast as my brain, or any brain, could put words together. That meant the two fingers worked just as well as two hands. In the end it all came out even.
This, of course, does not include the hunt-and-peck people. Few things are more painful than watching a cop type a report, pausing every few seconds to stare at the keyboard in hope that somewhere on it is the letter G.
So there you have it, the answer to a question that has puzzled even the smartest people down through the ages. All a writer needs are two fingers and one thumb. Aside from a hammer and chisel, paper and pencil, or a typewriter or computer, of course.


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