1. friendly_meese
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    friendly_meese Member

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    do you print out your online research?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by friendly_meese, Aug 3, 2014.

    I just spoke to someone (unpublished) who told me she ran out of printer ink while printing out some online research she was doing in preparation to write a nonfiction book. That strikes me as strange. I've been a heavy computer user since 1990 and actually prefer to see things on a computer screen. If online information is time-sensitive, I might copy and paste it into a document on my hard drive, but if it's always going to be available, I just bookmark where I found it in case I need to refer to it again. Otherwise, I use MS Word to take notes on it and put my ideas down. I don't even follow the recommended practice of carrying a pocket steno pad and a pen when I'm away from my desk in order to jot down ideas as they come to me, simply because handwriting things is not part of my nature.

    How about you? Do you prefer to review your research documents in electronic form or hardcopy form? If the latter, do you actually print out online material and then review the hardcopy?
     
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  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    My mother had a file cabinet drawer full of printed Web pages. Drove me nuts. I save links to stuff I might want to see again and also do a little copy-and-pasting.
     
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  3. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Everyone really should try and avoid printing hard copies of anything unless it's absolutely necessary, in my opinion.
     
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  4. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I print it out sometimes but most of the time, I write down the information in a composition notebook, or copy and paste. I also use my favorites file a lot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I take notes when the research is from books. I make big files from stuff on the Net that includes the address and whatever pieces I find of value.

    I have a file on interstellar travel, one on the biology and weather I might encounter on my new planet, one on pertinent political and social issues including some quotes I'm considering using. I have several image files on Pinterest. And sometimes I just bookmark the pages in my 'Novel' bookmarks file.

    Printing all that would be too much. I'm big on research.
     
  6. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Wow, that sounds like a senseless waste of paper. :/ I mean, yeah, I am a hard copy person and I find it very hard to read soft copy versions of things. For most of my academic work, I always have hard copies of all my coursework. However, when it comes to writing...I can't see how I could print everything I would ever need to materialize my MS. Would be arduous, because unlike a 2,000 word academic assignment, a novel requires a whole lot more of planning which would be, bringing me back to my first point, a senseless waste of paper.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't print. I might copy/paste into a local file, because websites do go away, but printing seems like a waste of resources and storage.
     
  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I used to put lots of website pages in my favourites file. Until I logged on one day to find the my laptop had somehow deleted my favourites list!

    I print out some things, plans, maps, pictures and the like but I also have a box full of notes written on scraps of paper and a journal of some research notes that I've taken from various websites and books.

    I tend to research one item in multiple places, sort of cross referencing things so I do note a lot of stuff in my journal.
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I've never printed my MS out to look through. I've emailed myself sections to read (don't ask me why but sometimes reading through it on my ipad helps me pick up on errors) and I back it up on a USB stick but I've never printed the thing out.

    Although I did once print the last chapter to send to one of my readers as her laptop had died ...
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I used to print my research, but since I started using Scrivener, I don't need to. Scrivener has a feature that keeps your research as part of your project file, and it's very convenient to use. It's even convenient to make notes on. Gotta love it!
     
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  11. friendly_meese
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    friendly_meese Member

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    Cutecat raises an interesting side-point. Some writer advisory sites recommend that you print out your manuscript for proofreading, especially if you're going to self-publish. The idea is that if you use monospace font and see an actual physical page, typos and spelling errors and other such things are easier to notice. Is this true?
     
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  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I always print my manuscript for proofreading, and I use a monospace font (Courier New) and double spacing. I make a lot of corrections, additions, and notes on the manuscript in red pen as I go over it, so I need the double spacing. I think the monospace font makes it easier to spot spelling errors (especially in the case of words that have double l's in the middle, like "swallow" - I find I sometimes type three l's and that's hard to spot in Times New Roman).
     
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  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I also get my narrator program to read my work to me. That helps me pick up misused or mistyped words.
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hardly ever print anything these days. I'm psychologically preparing to print all my completed projects, though. I decided to back it up old school way.
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I've heard that. :D
     
  16. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is an interesting psychological effect that I think has less to do with the exact nature of monospace font, double-spacing, or pages, and more to do with seeing your writing in an unfamiliar format. By "unfamiliar", I do not mean that you have never seen the manuscript format, but that you are used to writing and editing this particular manuscript on the screen in a screen-optimized format. After staring at your own writing in one format for so long, your mind can get stuck in loops where you cannot think of solutions to the problems that you have already recognized and there are problems that you never notice. Looking at the same words in a different format can jostle your mind out of these loops.

    It happens to me even when I click the "Post Reply" button and I see my writing posted to the web page instead of the edit box. I edit most of my posts on any given forum after I post them simply because there are things that I only notice after posting them.

    Printing in monospace font and double-spaced lines accomplishes this effect to a maximum extent because it combines several factors in a way that is highly optimized for examining long-form text.
     
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  17. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I prefer to save trees. If I am going to be typing, there is no reason to print it out when I can just store it in digital format--also makes information easier to search.
     
  18. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    I love this element of Scrivener. I can just drag in web pages, images, txt documents, pdf files and it keeps it all inside the research folder.
     
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  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    so if you're out and about and something comes into your mind and you jot the notes down on a napkin or in a notebook, do you then have to key those notes into scrivener when you get home?

    I do have research files on my computer but I also prefer to jot things down. Not sure why but the act of hand writing something in a journal helps me to remember it better.
     
  20. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    It's a personal thing I guess. I myself rarely experience this kind of thing . But when it happens (and it does happen) I jot it down in "Notes" on my iPhone. Then I copy paste it into Scrivener.

    My own writing style has two elements. I go to coffee shops with a spiral notebook every day-ish and make structural and plot notes. Also a list of the next five or so scenes. Then when I am at home I do the composing, referencing my hand written notes. I cannot compose with a pen. I usually write 2-3,000 words in a session at my iMac.
     
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  21. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I find that I can't plan my writing days ahead. Much as it pains me not to be able to do this, I have to wait until my muse is ready to play. I can set a day aside and sit at my laptop for five hours with only twenty words produced but the day after, when I only have a couple of hours (and it's usually 8pm by the time I fire up the lappy) the words will come rolling off my fingers and I can still be there at 2am!

    The most I've ever written in one sitting is just over five thousand words but I don't actively keep a check on daily (or each session's) word count output.
     
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  22. NanashiNoProfile
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    NanashiNoProfile Member

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    Pretty much everything I research online is saved digitally, though the vast majority of my research has been practical - I've spent loads of times seeking out ruins and abandoned settlements, as well as walking the Scottish highlands and forests.
     
  23. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Well I guess I am new to writing, at 55. But I know myself, to some extent and I think that that is a major thing in writing. I also know that I am an evening person. So I rarely bother to sit at the PC during the day, except doing some revisions. So during the day is perfect for coffee and not taking. Then I write in the evening. I could never ever sit at the PC more than ten minutes if I wasn't in the mood for writing :) I would consider it insanity and self destructive.

    Pretty good going. I have a daily target set in Scrivener of 2,000 words. I don't always hit it but I use it as a target alright. I can see my progress with a single click.
     
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  24. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I use MS word so the word count is always visible at the bottom of the screen. One of my main problems is that, because I'm self published and therefore do all my own advertising, I spend a lot of time on facebook, twitter, my website (and this forum) keeping in the loop and keeping my readers up to date on what I'm doing, not to mention the obvious research and the general goings on of daily family life and a job.
     
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  25. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Very interesting. I myself am self publishing by first book on Amazon Kindle in the next two weeks. I understand you perfectly.
    Even though I am not doing that stuff you are doing (yet) I am an addict of Reddit and discussion forums, and am continually tempted to check for comments and replies etc.
    I think that is another reason I write in bursts. An hour of concentrated composing is something like my limit. Then I get up and walk around, get a snack and sit and do the reddit/forums thing. Once I have answered some stuff I then sink back into the story. Once I get near the 2,000 words .. I tend to relax and feel I've done well :) Following that kind of pattern allows me to tune out distractions because I know I can deal with them in an hour.
    I must be honest though. I'm not writing literature :) It's a sort of detective/crime/spy thing and when I know what's happening I can plough through the dialogue and incidents at a great pace.
    I lost a whole week last week designing a cover with my nephew, but I'm back writing as I type here.
     
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