1. Abraxas
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    Abraxas Member

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    How do you write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Abraxas, Feb 7, 2011.

    Sorry for the oddly-worded question - it's much more specific than it sounds.

    Namely, when you've prepared your design documents, outlined every scene, described every character, etc., how do you actually choose to write?

    For example:

    What program do you use to write, and why?

    How do you format your text? Size, font, spacing, etc.

    Do you write your entire work in a single document, or do you divide it into chapters, etc.?
     
  2. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    Personally I use Times New Roman, size 12 font, with default MS 2007 spacing (Double spaced on enters with 10 points after each line).

    I place chapter breaks wherever they fit the best. I have tried writing everything in one block and then dividing it, but I've found that at least for me the divided chapters flow better when I place them while I am writing.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh. I doubt that I'll ever do that much prep work. A story dies if I spend too much time outside it, thinking about it.

    But anyway, I write in BBEdit, a text editor with no formatting, single space, auto-wrap, using what I think is the default BBEdit font and size (Lucinda-Grande 11) and I tend to store each day's writing as a separate dated file, files to be combined later when I want to edit a larger document as a whole. No formatting, no nothing, just the naked words. Of course, I couldn't submit work this way, but I'm not at that level of polish yet.
     
  4. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write in Open Office because it's free, and better than word anyway. I use Times New Roman and size 12 font. Indents rather than spaces.
    I keep each chapter on different files usually, and one version with everything on it.
     
  5. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never do that amount of prep... Although I do write short stories, and not novels (at the moment anyway).

    I use a word processor - Pages if I'm on my Macbook or MS Word elsewhere. Usually write in Times New Roman, size 12, because that's the standard really and it makes me write better (no idea why). I write a story in one document but I'll often have another document open, or a pad of paper, for any ideas to do with it.

    I have used writing software before where you can have separate tabs for characters, plot, setting etc. but I felt it was unnecessary for me personally. Mostly because I don't plan a lot.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep. Don't justify the text, it should be even on the left side, and ragged (unjustified) on the right. One font, one size throughout--don't bother to bold anything or attempt to use a variety of fonts, or make up a fancy front page. Turn off the 'widows and orphans' function, so you can fill down to the bottom of every page. Be consistent with punctuation, e.g. single/double inverted commas, centered # or * for paragraph breaks, etc and set your spell check to US or UK English, whichever you use. And number your pages in case you print it off, even if it's only a first working draft.

    I used to work writing chapters separately and then join them into one document, but now I've got a feel for how long each chapter should be, how many scenes in each one, if it's mostly an action or reaction chapter etc. So, I do it as one Word document and keep a running count of words and very brief chapter summary with page numbers. This helps me find the place if I'm going back to add in stuff, and also when I come to writing the synopsis it's handy. I make multiple copies of everything on different storage devices and hard copy as well in case the computer crashes.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use word, and Size 12 font and either times new roman or courier, depends on what i write. For the suspense-novel i used TNR but now that its more romance i use courier, i think i fits better. I think TNR is quite boring to write in, actually, but if someone would ask me to change later i would (after having finished it though;) )
    I used 1,5 space between lines and what said above about the ends of the lines. I also write in 1 document but divide it into chapters myself.
     
  8. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    When writing, I use Open Office, with 12 pt Times New Roman. Lines are single-spaced, and for some reason the "default" margin on Open Office is less than 1 inch, but I don't usually change it until I'm several pages in because I enjoy saying "I only wrote two pages" and then it turns out that I've written 1500 words. I indent rather than leave a line between paragraphs.

    As a rule, all chapters go in one file. There's something sheerly awesome about opening up a file and having to scroll down thirty or more pages before you start the day's work. It's a huge morale booster.

    During final edits, I switch my font to Courier New, modify my margins to 1" and double-space my work. For whatever reason, this seems to help.
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use MS word normally, Times New Roman, size 12 font, double-spaced.

    I prefer keeping everything in one document. Sometimes I start others for particular sections and then copy paste everything into the 'master copy' as it were.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i use ms word, since that's the lingua franca of the writing world [all by screenwriting, that is]... and i use proper ms format... here's where you can learn what that is:

    http://www.shunn.net/format/
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't do any of the preparation you do for writing a story.

    I use Open Office - For my first draft I was using 12 pt double line spaced Times New Roman but as a a reault of putting something into the British Writers Award I have started to use Ariel black 12pt and really like it. For a first draft I don't do any chapters I just write it.

    When I am rewriting it then I add in the formatting that seems to be most frequently asked for in the UK - either 12pt Arial Black or Times New Roman, double line spaced and 3-4 cm margins, footers and headers (I make mine 3.5), I add page numbers and the title page, and a title/author's name and my email in the header.
     
  12. abbigailrosewood
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    abbigailrosewood Member

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    I write alone in a quiet room with a cup of water/coffee/tea. I sit on my couch right next to my book shelf. Whenever I look to my left and see all the books organized in rows, it comforts me. I use Microsoft Word, Cambria Font. I agree that Times New Roman is too boring and I also have written too many academic essays with it so it drains my creativity when I see it. I don't prepare outlines either. Normally, I just sit down with an idea, a seed, and then I build up from there. Although I do have a general idea of how the story will end. I suppose the outline is in my head.
     
  13. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I started using pages on my ipad, and i love it. Yes, word is way more versatile, but the ipad rocks, and I've found that for revision work, using the touch keyboard isn't that painful. The 10 hour battery life of the ipad is great, because you dont have to worry about needing to plug in somewhere.
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have found this and it's really strange. I read it was an easy font to read because of the serifs, but I think I read enough of this forum font these days that I should be able to read this (Verdana, I think?) just as fast. But when I'm writing, if I get bored and experiment with different fonts, it really just throws me off.. When I was younger and you think you're too cool for black times new roman I tried a load of different fonts and they all ended up making me feel headachey and distracted. Hmm. It's almost like I don't *see* TNR, it just goes straight back into my head without the reading process. :p

    But yeah. Open Office, the above-mentioned font, and 1.5 spacing for the sake of my brain - I also justify the text though I know you shouldn't, just for the sake of neatness. I'll unformat it later - it's no biggie - but while I'm writing I need it to see precisely where my paragraphs end. Very very rare that you finish a line RIGHT up against the margin, but all too common when it's just left-justified that you use a long word and it gets knocked onto the next line and seems to create a line-break when you're scrolling up quickly or not really looking at the screen, but thinking. Just an OCD thing I have - I do also use indents, but honestly, who reads English left to right any more these days? :p
     
  15. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know, it's so weird. Sometimes I experiment with fonts too because I like typography so it's interesting going through the fonts and selecting one to match a story I'm writing. But that always makes it harder to write, so I change it back to Times New Roman and bam, I can write. I don't get it at all. :(
     
  16. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not like I'm even programmed to like it because it wasn't my first font: I grew up writing on Word Perfect on my old MS DOS computer, which was a font similar to this one in large creamy letters on a dark blue screen. Sometimes I want to format Open Office to look like that, but I've never figured out how. :p In any case, I might have used that all through my childhood, but the moment I had my own laptop and Windows XP and Word, I seemed to become incapable of writing in anything but TNR... :/
     

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