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Posts Tagged ‘Fountain Pens’

Several posts ago, I wrote that I have a goal to complete two chapters on my thriller by the end of March. I’m happy–no thrilled–to say that I’m sure I’m going to make it. The last two weeks have seen a real turnaround in how I’m working on the story and how I feel about what I’ve written.

It started with–index cards. Just the lowly index card. Part of my problem was being uncertain about part of the plot and the time line of the story. I finished the first chapter in the two-chapter goal, looked at it, and thought. “It won’t work with the time line. I am going to have to friggin’ well dump this entire chapter.” This did not make me happy. Think of it–you spend two weeks bullying your way through a chapter only to say to yourself when you finish, “it won’t work!” I suffered a crisis of confidence. (Translation: I felt very grumpy.)

I’ve kept my outline and story notes in a notebook, specifically an Apica CD-15 notebook, along with legal pad sheets of dialog and ideas. It’s very linear. Written from one page to the next, it’s flat and set. I got a bunch of index cards (alas, I did not care whether they were fountain pen friendly or not…) and put one plot element on each card and then started shuffling. I worked with that for a weekend, and the plot line fell into place. Fortunately, the chapter I had written and thought I would have to dump also fell into place. Scenes and dialog started coming more easily, more naturally to me. I’ve found the groove for this story again.

I’ll make my goal by the end of the month. The chapters won’t be perfect, but I feel like they’ll be good solid first drafts. Even better, I’m looking at the following pieces with a lot more confidence now.

Oh, index card statistics: Rotring 600 w/medium nib and Mont Blanc Bordeaux ink. Waterman Expert II w/fine nib and Private Reserve Midnight Blues ink. Index cards–whatever probably 10 years old from Office Depot, yellowing and fading slightly. There was *some* feathering from the Rotring, who really, who the hell cares? It worked! ~chortle!~

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I have a beautiful pen that needs a little work–a Libelle Winter Storm. Libelle makes a series of these season-themed fountain pens, the Autumn Leaves, Sea Breeze, and the Winter Storm. They’re the first fountain pen series that I’ve ever said, “I gotta have all of them!” Last fall I picked up the last of them–the Winter Storm. A beautiful pen. It has a deep, lustrous gray marbled finish that reminds me of cold winter clouds or dark cracking ice. The resin barrel warms up in the hand and is comfortable to hold.

The Libelle Winter Storm

The Libelle Winter Storm

The steel Iridium Point Germany nib is a medium, but writes like a fine. I think these Iridium Point Germany nibs are made by Schmidtt or Bock. I’m not sure what Iridum is, and suspect the whole thing is a marketing tool to make you feel better about having a steel nib instead of a gold nib. Whatever, steel nibs are fine with me, and the nibs that Libelle uses are darn good.

But, the Winter Storm’s nib writes a thin, dry fine line, and that’s a problem. I want a wetter line than I’m getting from it. So, I’m spending a lot of time writing with it, and changing inks to see what will work best in it. Thing is, this dark gray marble is screaming for a dark red ink–something like Private Reserve Black Cherry. But Black Cherry comes out very dry, very thin. I’m now trying Mont Blanc Burgundy in it. Paper is also part of the equation. What paper does this pen want? It doesn’t want the Apica A610 notebook I use for a journal. Most dry, most unhappy with that. 😦 And red inks look weird on yellow legal paper. I think it wants plain old spiral bound white notebook paper. Tried that this morning and got a much better line out of the pen. When I run out of the MB Burgundy in the converter, I’ll try Black Cherry again. The MB ink is a little too pinkish looking. This pen wants a dark red dramatic ink!

I’ve found that fussy pens can improve over time if you give them a chance. The tines may not be properly aligned. Writing them the for a few weeks reshapes the tines to accommodate how you write. The nibs might move a tiny bit away from the feed, and that causes a greater flow of ink to the nib. I had the same problem with the Autumn Leaves when I got it–it just didn’t write that great. A few weeks later, with Private Reserve Avacodo ink in it and a few dozen pages under it’s .. er .. nib, it became one of my favorite writing pens. The Sea Breeze, as befitting it’s Caribbean Blue (and sea green) theme, was perfect out of the Libelle box!

The Libelle pens can be found online at Swisher Pens and Pencity, links provided over there————>

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These are a few things I like:

Writing: I’ve got one supernatural and two mystery-thrillers going at the moment.

Fountain pens: There’s nothing like writing with a good fountain pen. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a expensive one or a $12.00 cheapie, as long as it writes well and it fits in my hand. I have a Prussian Blue Waterman Carene with a custom-ground cursive italic nib that’s a dream to hold and write with. I have cheap Pilot 78G’s that are surprising in how well they write straight out of the plastic bag from whatever seller I buy them from. In between, I have a gorgeous ivory Waterman Charleston, and a copper/bronze Waterman Expert II, that I think could be the best writing pen I own. My heart though, belongs to my 1951 Parker 51 in midnight blue with gold-filled cap. Writing with this 56 year old pen is writing with history.

..and paper: I’m currently addicted to Apica notebooks from Japan. The CD-15’s are my project books. The paper is a soft ivory and very smooth. Ink flows onto this paper. My journals are now kept on Apica A610’s. The paper is soft and grey-ish in color. It takes almost every ink I have very well. The notebooks are reasonably cheap: $3.78 for the CD-15 and $5.99 for the A610 at the local pen store. I also like Rhodia and Black n’ Red notebooks, and Ampad legal pads.

…and ink: Private Reserve Midnight Blues. I love the blue-gray color; it’s sophisticated; it’s … enigmatic. Also in use are Waterman Havana Brown and South Seas Blue, Private Reserve Black Cherry; Mont Blanc black and Mont Blanc bordeaux.

Music: Mostly Irish, mostly by the Brennan family–Clannad, Enya. Enya’s new album, And Winter Came… is the best seasonal album to come out in 2008. I was listening to Enya’s family (Clannad) a year before Enya released the soundtrack to The Celts documentary, and their Dulaman album gets played regularly around here.

I’ve got a new pen to try out tonight–a Cross-dressing Parker Big Red. A bunch of years ago, I bought an orange Big Red rollerball. When I took up fountain pens a few years ago, I eyed the rollerball and wished it was a fountain pen. Mostly because vintage Parker Duofolds, on which the Big Red was modeled, are way out of my price range. A few months ago, I found out that the nib and section of a Cross Solo could be used on the barrel of a Big Red. This week I got my Cross Solo (with a nice broad nib!) and sure ‘nuf, the nib fits on the Big Red. The nib was made by Pilot and true to Pilots, its quality is extremely good. It puts down a nice, even wet line without a skip or hiccup. I like the idea of giving my 25 year old Parker Big Red a new lease on life. Writing with it this evening is going to be fun.

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