|I’m currently reading books 4 and 5 (con-fused together) of the 8 books that stack of paper was eventually turned into. (Image courtesy http://www.nealstephenson.com)|
It would seem that writing with a pen worked out better than when he used a typewriter – at least better than when he used a typewriter to write his first novel The Big U. During a keynote speech in 2003, Stephenson told the story of how his first novel was created. He had written up an outline, character biographies, and a few sample chapters, which he sent out to a bunch of editors. One of them replied back with interest, requesting that Stephenson send along the entire novel. Stephenson was excited, but quickly realized there was a problem – he hadn’t written the novel yet. He was working a standard full-time job, so he used all his vacation days - and including the 4th of July - that gave him 10 days to write the novel.
UPDATE - May 2nd, 2011: Logan Cale on Reddit taught me something cool about Stephenson's manuscript for The Baroque Cycle: "It's pretty awesome, the Baroque Cycle manuscript is (or was at one point) on display at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, along with all the ink bottles and cartridges he consumed while writing it, and what appears to be his blotting paper."