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Author Topic: What do you write on?
EVOC
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Do you write on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or paper?

Right now I write on a desktop, but before that I had a laptop. I loved having a laptop to write on, it made it easier for me to write in more places. Such as when I took the kids to the park. But, last year was a rough year and I had to sell it to make rent.

The desktop I have is not really ideal for writing during the times I have to write (usually when I have the kids). I'm in the market to buy something else. But I've been told to consider a tablet rather than a laptop.

I have a heck of a time trying to type on a touch screen. So I need something I can hook a keyboard too. Which is why I had a laptop in mind.

So, what do you write on? What do you like about it and what do you dislike?

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wetwilly
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Laptop. I imagine a tablet would be awful for your main writing machine.
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telflonmail
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Desktop and laptop and paper for "real" writing.

Tablet and phone and paper for ideas and dialog and scene outlines. The voice recording application is a great way to empty an idea out your head.

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extrinsic
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Time-wise my main writing quantity is mental composition. I play and replay and replay and rework scenes, dialogue, settings, scenarios, and storylines, etc., in my head until they gel. The tingling rush of creation happens before I typewrite. About four times as much time as I spend on a first raw draft I spend mentally composing.

I take notes on a pocket notebook and a digital recorder when a word or scenario arises that fits into the plot and I'm not near my laptops. One is on its last legs. The other is an off-lease refurbished unit that I picked up for a couple hundred bucks. I'm looking at another off-lease model purchase in the near future. The software I have is pricey and won't work on a later model operating system than Windows XP. I can't afford to upgrade the software.

I also do revisions after drafting using a mental composition process and then typing. My hands don't work like they used to. My typing speed now is half what it was when I could touch-type.

After revisions, I continue with a mental composition process in the final refinements stage. This is when I most closely scrutinze for theme and meaning. Does this say what I intend it to mean? Do the parts factor up and correlate to the whole? Is this accessible and appealing for the audience I intend?

I have written on computers of many different operating systems and configurations: Apple/Mac, Windows, Linux, DOS, laptop, tablet, SmartPhone, desktop, office, home, on the road, in the wilderness, work, play, at acquaintances' homes, in the car, on abroad vacations. My current configuration is a laptop connected to a wide screen television. The other laptop for backup and away from home work. The connected laptop is also connected to a wireless mouse and keyboard that sits on my lap while I sit on a recliner in front of the television, switching back and forth from monitor mode to television mode. My eyes are not as good as they once were, either. For close and demanding copyediting and proofreading work, I view manuscripts on the television monitor.

I have a third laptop on loan for the summer and fall for publication work. Pricey InDesign software on it is suitable for most bookmaking and print bureau production printing. Though I can produce identical results from Word and WordPerfect and CorelDraw.

I use a number of other peripheral devices for cross platform and cross application compatability; flash drives, backup drives, wireless mifi hotspot, of course, printers, scanners, external audio stereo speakers. headphones, power backups, the gamut. Home office is mission central with more beeping devices and winking LEDs than Houston's mission control.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by EVOC:
Do you write on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or paper?

Right now I write on a desktop, but before that I had a laptop. I loved having a laptop to write on, it made it easier for me to write in more places. Such as when I took the kids to the park. But, last year was a rough year and I had to sell it to make rent.

The desktop I have is not really ideal for writing during the times I have to write (usually when I have the kids). I'm in the market to buy something else. But I've been told to consider a tablet rather than a laptop.

I have a heck of a time trying to type on a touch screen. So I need something I can hook a keyboard too. Which is why I had a laptop in mind.

So, what do you write on? What do you like about it and what do you dislike?

All of the above. Except for the tablet. I haven't figured out if I can on my Nook, supposedly there's a keyboard with E-mail but I haven't tried that yet. But I think I would have the same trouble you have on a tablet so I haven't tried to remember very hard.

So right now it's paper, desktop and laptop. I like the desk computer the best. Half the time my arms aren't at the best height for me with the laptop plus I'm more used to the mouse than a track pad--or whatever they call it.

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babooher
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My tablet (ASUS Transformer Prime) came with a detachable keyboard. I write on that or on my desktop. When I had a laptop, I wrote on it primarily at my desk.
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History
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I currently alternate writing on two netbook computers.
They are very light and portable, perfect for writing in bed, on a plane, lounge chair, etc.

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aspirit
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I started to prefer my laptop, because I could type while watching my daughter. It rarely caught her attention the way paper does, and I could read handwritten pages to the built-in speech-to-text program when needed.

Then the screen broke. I haven't had the money to replace it. So, I mostly write in cheap notebooks, sometimes on scrap paper, when that's all that's nearby. For me, it's a more relaxed way of writing (except that baby hands reach for the paper every so often). The biggest drawback is that handwritten stories have to be typed at some point.

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Denevius
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Original draft is always on paper first. For some reason I find it more difficult to revise when words are already on the screen, but usually (except for rare occasions), when I finally type a story I've written in pencil first, the changes are pretty dramatic. The stuff on the page seems like shorthand, or a very basic sketch, to the story itself. There's only one example I can think of where almost exactly what I wrote in pencil for a twelve paged story is what I typed on the screen.

Plus, let's say you hit the literary lottery and make it big. Imagine how much an original, hand written copy of your novel would go for. When I was in my late teens, early 20s, I'd give away early drafts of stories I wrote, usually to girls I liked (actually, always). I used to think it made a cool gift.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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aspirit, as Denevius has pointed out, the typing of the handwritten version can serve as the second draft and can make rewriting of your first draft a little easier than it might have been if the first draft was typed in the first place.
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Owasm
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I write on a laptop, but it's set up as a desktop and I mostly use a larger second display (22") along with a full sized wireless keyboard.

I'd like to try using an iPad, but I haven't been able to justify one yet. If I do, I'll be setting it up with a real keyboard. I use Scrivener and they had a IOS version under development at one point. I haven't checked back to see if they released it yet.

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RyanB
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Currently I use an Ultrabook with a backlit keyboard and work in Word. Word's commenting and change tracking are great collaborating tools. The Ultrabook is pretty much the best writing/typing experience IMO.

I used to use yWriter on a netbook. yWriter is pretty good for novels. I hear Scrivener is better. The netbook's screen and keyboard is a little cramped, but otherwise it was acceptable for writing and about as cheap as you can go for a portable solution.

My wife has an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard integrated into a cover. I think that would be the ultimate ultra-mobile solution (except maybe a Surface?). The keyboard is even more cramped than a netbook, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff for the portability.

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EVOC
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When I was much younger I hand wrote my stories. I just found one is a box the other day. But now, as I write, my hands cramp up. This forces me to stop writing far earlier than I want.

On my days off from work I have the kids while my wife works. It makes locking myself away in the office tough.

As for tablets, I've only considered the Surface. But I need to get to a store and actually see how that keyboard feels to type on since it appears to have a different feel than a standard keyboard.

If that doesn't work out then, as much as I want a tablet, I'll have to go with a laptop.

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extrinsic
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This discussion raises several areas that networking may address, offer writing support and encouragement: wetware, firmware, hardware, and software complications, physiological complications, writing-time management complications, and revision processes.

I solve my complications as best I'm able to with limited resources over time. Accumulating wares as I'm able to over time, like software that's years out of date and hardware that's been obsolete for years before I purchase it to save money, is one of my solutions.

I'm not a postmodernity fanatic. I don't abandon the old ways simply because some brand-new flashy appliance claims to be the latest greatest innovation since taming fire. A hammer is still the best tool for hammering. A laptop doesn't drive nails very efficiently. However, after conscious consideration, I will acquire new devices, techniques, and thoughts if I'm persuaded they have personal and greater-good benefits that outweigh their complications.

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Dirk Hairychest
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I always write my first drafts in those little composition books in pencil. I suffer from having too little time like the rest of you so I greatly benefit from the portability of comp books. More importantly, I find that my inner critic is much quieter that way. I was an art major and I think I still love the scratch of the graphite on paper. Like a rough sketch, I allow myself more mistakes and more leeway which inevitably leads to stronger second drafts which I always do in my laptop. Then I print out my story and edit in pencil again and work in this iterative fashion until the deadline hits.
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Robert Nowall
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Right now it's my computer, a tower, the third one I've bought so far in this life. This one I had to downloade / buy a Word program to use and to open what I've already accumulated...so far, so good, though it's considerably different from the Works program I was using before.

I started with a manual portable Smith Corona Galaxie...acquired a large Royal manual and worked with that awhile...moved on to one of those cheap electronic typewriters that flooded the market just before word processing became commonplace (also a Smith Corona)...moved on from there to two separate one-lunged word processors...then onto computers one, two, and now three.

Once in a while, when I'm feeling blocked, I'll go all the way back to Square One and write pages on my Smith Corona Galaxie.

(Incidentally, my typewriter was a birthday present...my brothers that year got bicycles, but I asked for and got---and even picked out myself---a typewriter. They've long abandone their bicycles, but I still occasionally use my typewriter...)

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InarticulateBabbler
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I write on both a laptop and paper.
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KellyTharp
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A brand new chapter --- paper and a reward of a bright new shiny pen (xtra fine point). Somehow the physical aspect of writing by hand gets my creative juices flowing. Then I type it all into Word using desk top. Editing, I use mostly desk top and my lap top, every time I have to go in for infusion therapy (IV for 4+ hours every 8 wks). Enforced editing time as I'm tethered to a pole and its a great way to get those pesky edits worked on since I edit a chapter probably up to 20xs. I tend to outline on paper, and I also do pencil scetches of rooms, floor plans, painting of flight panels and label where all the controls are. I find floor plans on big areas like mansions/castles/spaceships really helps so that I can always go back and see the physical layout. When I first started my novel I discovered that 3-4 months down the road I forgot and put the bathroom on the starboard side of the character's quarters in a scene and they were originally on the port side! Not good to be moving people bathrooms on them, your characters won't like you one bit. KT
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Robert Nowall
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I do use paper to make notes and such...I've never taken much to writing notes in word processor form, no more than writing the occasional short note in bold face right in the middle of the rough drafts, usually about something I need to check up on...
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RyanB
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Robert made me remember something. I heard a while back that it's common to use "tc" or "'tc" to note something you want to correct later. This gives you the freedom to make mistakes or not have to look something up while you're trying to pound out a draft.

Apparently "tc" is quite rare in the english language.

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wetwilly
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Ryan, I actually just use brackets for that. You can just do a "find" for brackets to find all the little notes you left yourself in the draft, and you never need to use brackets for real, so there are no brackets that are supposed to be there muddying up your search.
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Robert Nowall
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Well, with the rough drafts I make, I always intend to rewrite and retype them, from beginning to end, just so I consider each and every word and sentence. The theory is that I'll remove my notes then---the practice being if I do use the first draft as the basis for the next draft, I find I've left some of them in without thinking...
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Reziac
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A friend has a whole collection of HP Netbooks. He picks 'em up off eBay cheap, and uses 'em for just about anything a desktop can do, except modern games. They have a real keyboard (lordy, how do touchscreens expect us to touch-type?!)
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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by RyanB:
Robert made me remember something. I heard a while back that it's common to use "tc" or "'tc" to note something you want to correct later. This gives you the freedom to make mistakes or not have to look something up while you're trying to pound out a draft.

Apparently "tc" is quite rare in the english language.

Watch, hatch, batch, latch, match, catch...

I use ## for notes, fore and aft. Since I use this mark for nothing else, it's easy to search-and-find.

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RyanB
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quote:
Originally posted by Reziac:
quote:
Originally posted by RyanB:
Robert made me remember something. I heard a while back that it's common to use "tc" or "'tc" to note something you want to correct later. This gives you the freedom to make mistakes or not have to look something up while you're trying to pound out a draft.

Apparently "tc" is quite rare in the english language.

Watch, hatch, batch, latch, match, catch...

I use ## for notes, fore and aft. Since I use this mark for nothing else, it's easy to search-and-find.

Now that I think about it itch, etch, otch, utch (all the vowels with tch) also appear in words.

Somewhere along the way I mixed this up. It was actually "tk" which is an intentional misspelling of "tc."

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extrinsic
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Typesetters and writers from times past and still today use a variety of nonce glyphs to mark locations for further consideration. I have a system of nonce characters for marking: for proofreading, copyediting, and writing. Piers Anthony uses brackets: [text], but his method is pre-digital search and replace. Seaching for a left or right bracket in a composition that uses them routinely could be burdensome.

For digital search and replace, use a nonce glyph or glyphs that are not otherwise part of the composition but are standard keyboard glyphs, for ease of use and minimal disruption; i.e., * <> ~ ** `` ^ || \\ ^^ // *** and so on. Include hint text between bracketing glyphs: |text|.

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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by RyanB:
Somewhere along the way I mixed this up. It was actually "tk" which is an intentional misspelling of "tc."

I wondered about that [Smile]

And now I'm thinking:

"TK-421, why aren't you at your post? TK-421, do you copy?"

and it's your fault. [Big Grin]

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aspirit
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"We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?"

quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
aspirit, as Denevius has pointed out, the typing of the handwritten version can serve as the second draft and can make rewriting of your first draft a little easier than it might have been if the first draft was typed in the first place.

A problem I have is that a story's voice changes when I rewrite it on a screen. Sometimes, I'd rather not mess with a handwritten story more than to fix obvious errors.

Has anyone tried scanning a typewritten page and relying on OCR to convert the words?

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Our scanner doesn't do OCR (and I bang my forehead against my desk because I didn't check for that when we got it).

It does PDF and then I have to try to find software that will convert PDF into text for me. Haven't had consistent success so far, and am open for suggestions.

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extrinsic
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OmniPage is the OCR application I use. It's come with each scanner I've bought. OmniPage will work with jpeg, gif, or tiff scans. PDFs that have embedded images instead of digital text are often jpegs that can be copied, opened in a digital image software, and saved as jpeg to import into OmniPage, for example.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thank you, extrinsic. I'll look into that.
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arriki
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I first wrote on an electric typewriter. In 1980 I bought an Apple II+ and my own dot matrix printer! Ever since those days, it's been computers all the way for me! I have had mostly windows machines since that first apple II+. Right now I have two base computers and an iPad that my wonderful daughter (thank you ever so much, Irulian!) gave me for my birthday this year. So, after many years I am back in the Apple camp, at least partly.

My husband has an OCR get up attached to his computer. He's an actual programmer.
Both of our kids (Irulian and Mranth) have grown up using their own computers. There's all manner of computer accessories around the house. Mostly obsolete stuff we've never gotten around to throwing out.

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Steve 46th
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Even with all the technology within my reach, I still enjoy the pen and paper approach. The only problem here is that, when I was 13, I broke my left wrist in a softball game. Can anyone guess which hand I write with? Because of the nature of the break, the doctor told me that, as I got older, I could expect arthritic conditions in that wrist. And he was right. Now, after a few pages of non-stop writing, that wrist becomes inoperable.

I'm also a huge fan of my digital audio recorder.

Then...when it's time to put the story together, everything I hand write and dictate gets herded to my desktop. As has already been mentioned, I treat the transcription of ideas and verbiage I've created via ballpoint and voice as my second draft process. I suspect the reason my typing these notes that were originally recorded in a different format opens my imagination to previously unrealized possibilities is equivalent to picking out a previously unnoticed object or action in an urban setting by simply looking at it from a different street corner...and that explains (to me) why I don't often type my first drafts these days.

S!

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