1. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    Writing Software - Who Needs It?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Baron, Jun 1, 2011.

    When I first started writing I managed quite well with a notepad, a typewriter and a bottle of Tipp-Ex. The advent of the computer and word processor has simply removed the need for the Tipp-Ex. I still use the notepad (although not the same one).

    I've had suggestions for all sorts of programs designed to help the author. I find all those I've looked at complicated, cumbersome and unnecessary. I'm happy to settle for working with Word or similar. It provides all that I need. I'm often tempted to abandon that and follow the example of another writer who does all his work on Windows notepad. The advantage being that it doesn't try to format the work on behalf of the writer.

    Can anyone convince me there's a good reason that I've missed for using these other programs?
     
  2. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's not really any point to all of those softwares. I stick to free Open Office. The only writing tool I have quite liked is Text Tree, and that is free software. It's not necessary, but makes it easier to categorize things, like characters.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    NOTICE:

    If this thread begins to promote the merits of any software product, IT WILL BE REMOVED.
     
  4. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think anythng other than good ol' word processors would discourage the correct use of formatting when preparing manuscripts. It's a very important part of being a fiction writer. When it comes to writing scripts and screenplays, stuff like this is very beneficial. However, novel writing doesn't require that same, repetitive kind of structure - it's not really that simple.
    I can't help but feel these programmes do one of two things - make it too easy, or pointlessly difficult. It's not exactly difficult to double-space a document and all that jazz - who needs a programme for that?

    At the end of the day, all you need is a keyboard and a blank page. The rest is up to you.
     
  5. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    Are you saying that people may not share their experience of any particular software?


    I wholly agree with you on this.
     
  6. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    I use a plaintext editor designed for programmers. But it's fast, I like the tabs across the top with the open files, and I downloaded an extention to give me a lightweight custom file-tree on the left, so that I can quickly get to drafts, plot notes, worldbuilidng notes, character notes, etc.

    Obviously for later drafts I need to switch to an actual word-processing program where I can do formatting. But for the early stages, I like this setup.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I stick to Word 2003. I don't like 2007's GUI, I don't like OpenOffice's GUI. For scripts I use Celtx because it's simple enough, and I also have this other program that I don't use and can't remember the name of; it's for just fiction writing and stuff in general. It's designed to immerse you by using fullscreen and stuff.

    Like I said... I stick to Word 2003. The only reason I use Celtx is because if I used Word, I'd have to format it myself. BORING.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Myself I have word 2000. Its perfectly adequate, and with Bookshelf 97 beside it (or maybe 96 - Its so old that I've lost the cover) I don't really need that much more.

    The text to speech idea sounds interesting, especially for editing and dialogue.

    Cheers.
     
  9. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    The old portable typewriter had a lot of advantages that are lost to modern technology, although early laptops shared many of these. For one thing, portable meant only that it was movable. This gave no indication that the instrument was light and, when the ream of paper that also had to be carried was added, it was a great tool for body building. A positive advantage was that it was easy to work outside in bright sunlight without worrying about glare. No need to find a shady place to see what was being written.

    A netbook or iPad is certainly a lot easier to carry around but when it comes to usage I see no need for more than that blank page on the screen.
     
  10. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    I've often looked at software, but I never found anything I quite wanted to spend money on. There was a time that I was looking for something that I could use to enter characteristics (height, eye colour, whatever) just to have an easy reference, but I've since found myself using tables in Word. Other than Word, I'm fine. It's got everything I need (versioning, styles, etc.) even if it's buggy. Microsoft could beef up Word's dictionary and thesaurus. I guess I'd be looking for a software extension of Word myself (for the dictionary and thesaurus), but not software.
     
  11. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    That's correct. I believe they call it censorship.
     
  12. Deleth
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    Deleth Member

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    I use word 2007 myself, I like the more out of the way gui, and being an IT Person by trade I know how to customize it to get rid of annoyances that arise out of novel writing. But that is just me.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I just use a full-screen text editor. Works great.
     
  14. Wes
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    Wes Member

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    definitely just notepad or word. I have tried others before, but like others said. Too may options weight them down. I got a free program from a friend who bought it and didn't care for it. Final Draft is decent for screenplays, but I prolly won't use it. But I got it just in case. But yeah, notepad, wordpad, MS Word. All I need.
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I usually use Word and pen and paper. I agree, a lot of writing poems are cumbersome to me instead of helping.
     
  16. another wasted day
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    another wasted day Member

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    Microsoft Word is better than most other word processers, at least for me. I've tried apps which cater to writing only, but they are usually over-simplified to the point of uselessness. I've tried Pages, and Open Office, but I keep going back to Microsoft in the end because the others are all missing little things which irritate me (no right click thesaurus on Pages, no visible word count in Office etc.)
     
  17. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    I think a lot of programs, even Word, can just make for lazy writers and I'm not convinced that the standard of writing doesn't get effected as a result. When there was just the typewriter there was no spell check or grammar check, those things had to be learned. Personally, I'd still rather have to learn those skills than have software that does the thinking for me.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Also, if you put all your trust in an automatic spell checker, you deserve the humiliation you will eventually receive as a result.
     
  19. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    There is a difference between trusting and using a spell-check. You seem assured if you use a machine to help, you instantly stop using your brain. I don't believe that's always true.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Again, a simple full-screen text editor is great. No onscreen distractions. No spell check. It keeps a running word count and you can even turn on typewriter sounds if you want, change all the colors, etc. I really like it - I am most productive when using it.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your assumption is incorrect. I use spell check to help find misspellings, because my typing is terrible. But I can spell quite well, so I nearly always know if a word is spelled correctly when I look at it. If in doubt, I use a real dictionary.

    But I never assume that if the spell checker puts a wavy red line under a word, it must be spelled incorrectly, or if there is no wavy red line, it is spelled correctly. I also perform a careful proofreading with my own eyes and brain engaged.

    I do not rely upon the spell checker. I use it as the imperfect tool it is, with caution.
     
  22. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    That's exactly what I said and yet you have stated it is incorrect? Are you just being argumentative for the sake of saving face or is there a genuine misunderstanding here?
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I thought from your remark you were assuming I am against the use of spell checkers. But my original comment was about depending on them.

    I'm glad we are on the same page after all.
     
  24. Greendog
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    I think most writing programs are useless - the greats never needed software to enter notes about their characters with.

    The only ones I like are ones that shut off your internet for a designated period of time, or that take away all the other distractions of a computer.
     

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