1. Mullanphy

    Mullanphy Banned

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    Does Your Computer Help You Write?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Mullanphy, Aug 12, 2021.

    The personal computer was supposed to make our lives easier, but has it made writing better or even easier? Back in the day I used an actual typewriter to put my words on paper, so my answer is, “Yes, my computer makes writing easier for me.”

    But not the story-telling part of writing.

    The proliferation of writing aids, apps, mind maps, editors, timeline makers, blogs, beat sheets, and lord-knows what and how many other computer/tablet/device helpers can easily bog down a writer to the point of not writing while looking for the perfect tool or tool bag. I’m interested, from a friendly nosey point of view in what other writers use. If you care to share, please do so.
     
  2. LucyAshworth

    LucyAshworth Active Member

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    It has, in the sense that it helps me make endless edits. It also helps with research and computer programs, collages, etc.
    Still, I wish I had a big room with corkboard and lots of paper.
     
  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I agree, my computer serves as a typewriter and allows for vastly improved editing compared to what I could do with white-out and a pen back in the day, but aside from that I still use the old-fashioned methods for working out story etc. I've tried the mind map stuff, and I don''t like the computer versions as much as making what I call a road map on a piece of paper, which has so much more personality to it and is more memorable. On the computer versions every entry looks identical and soulless.

    I id like using the trial version of Scrivener for the corkboard, which is essentially a beat sheet or step outline. After the trial expired I found a way to use tables to create a beat sheet that;'s nearly as responsive, and does everything I need it to do, but the jury's still out on how effective beat-sheeting is for my methods of story creation. I seem to do best when writing without structure in big Evernote files for ideas, and then putting those into a beat sheet form just so I don't lose them all and can arrange them the way I want and link them to pages with more information if that's needed.

    But I'm not fully convinced I need to do any of that. Especially on my current project, which is a group of shorts.

    Actually though, having just said that, I think I'm going to need to beat-sheet the ideas to see them all laid out in order and how well they really link up. You can't tell that from just a bunch of unstructured notes and loose ideas.
     
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  4. LucyAshworth

    LucyAshworth Active Member

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    I recently saw an advertisement for a computer program meant to help writers. I thought of my long narrow column of Microsoft Word, and how I scrolled up and down, trying to stay organized in my head.

    A corkboard and paper. Or at least a wide desk. I want for so little. And a bed. Fucking Hell, if writers of old could do it, then so can I.
     
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  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    3x5 index cards, write a single story beat on each one and you can shuffle and arrange them however works best. Then you can do the same for scene beats at a higher level of resolution. But it's best done after working out ideas in full sentence/paragraph form. If you start off with beats it's too minimal and abstract.
     
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  6. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Senior Member

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    I think looking for the perfect tool with which to write, to the point of self hindrance, signals a very imperfect writer. He could just as easily be putting off that 'masterpiece' until he finds the right pen, stationary, desk, room, typewriter, underpants etc...

    I use Google Docs for first draft, and Scrivener for the big edit. Simple is best for massing content, while more features do help with organizing it later. I also think it's a major boon to be able to find and/or replace throughout the entire draft.
     
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  7. Amontillado

    Amontillado Active Member

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    It's not free, but Curio serves well as a notebook of corkboards. I use its equation features when I study math, which I'm quite lousy at.
     
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  8. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Yes. A computer helps me write. In fact I would go as far to say that without it there is no way I could have done what I have.
     
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  9. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Senior Member

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    The word processing ability of a computer is a vast improvement over old manual typewriters and carbons. The spellcheck/grammar check is nice, except when it decides to turn an unfamiliar word into a familiar one that makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the sentence. My gratitude for not having to erase/use whiteout/scrape mistakes from carbons knows no bounds. Why, I used to have to whiteout words ten miles each direction in a howling blizzard.
     
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  10. sarkalark

    sarkalark Member

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    I find programs can generate music much more easily than ideas for stories. Have you ever tried those free plot generators? :bigtongue: There are more patterns to music than ideas...

    If one had a large enough program I'm sure it could come up with something better than I could.
     
  11. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Uphill both ways, I'm sure. :cool:
     
  12. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Senior Member

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    That goes without saying. And I was barefoot and pregnant at least part of the time.
     
  13. Le gribouilleur

    Le gribouilleur Member

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    When I used the computer for my homework for the first time, I found it difficult to think while looking at the screen. There was something about staring at a light that prevented me from focusing on my work. I went back to writing on paper. (This was many years ago). I don't know if anyone else experienced this. I'm used to the computer screen now. And using the word processor helps me edit more efficiently. But sometimes I wonder if writing or typing on paper would help me think more clearly.
     
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