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Author Topic: Writing Tools
Dark Warrior
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No, that is not another name for us Hatrackers. I had three questions.

I am getting a Netbook, primarily for out of my home office writing. Any suggestions on the best, low cost models?

I need a new chair for my office. Any suggestion on types? Arm rests/no armrests, big cushy leather, balance balls?

And lastely, any recommendations for story writing software other than word? I saw one that KayTi referenced and it looked great when I checked out the website, but it is only for MAC. I heard the Screenwriter program that I am getting for my screenplays is good for fiction novel writing but wanted to see if anyone had suggestions.

Thank you in advance.


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BenM
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Random opinions

I am getting a Netbook...
I personally use a 10" MSI Wind. The main attraction was keyboard size; I found the 9" netbooks far too cramped to type on comfortably. The Wind is still cramped, but it's usable. I went in to my local department store and typed on each of the display models to find the one that I liked the most. I actually still wonder if I should have bought an Acer Aspire though, as I think in retrospect its keyboard is a bit better laid out. Since then there's been new models, so it's not a model recommendation - just a suggestion to try before you buy.

I need a new chair for my office...
Once again no recommendations from me here, just some personal experience. I use a high backed office chair with its arm rests removed, however I have often felt more productive in a hard wood chair at the dining table. Go figure.

And lastely, any recommendations for story writing software other than word?...
I tried a few but ended up gravitating back towards a combination of Word, a low-tech pen and notebook, and occasionally FreeMind for plot and detail organisation on bigger projects. I found the 'features' of some of the programs to be too distracting, I guess. The less is more approach I just find appealing. (And it's still more - my old Olivetti typewriter was definitely less)


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genevive42
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I love my netbook and it has up to ten hours of battery life. I spent the extra $30 and got the extra gig of RAM. It was easy to install and I got a good price with the bundle.

By the way, I have an Asus Eee. I got it on Amazon and they're the only place I've seen the one with the uber-battery life. Here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-1005HA-PU1X-BK-10-1-Inch-Black-Netbook/dp/B002DYIXMI/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I16983ULWPF9NJ&colid=3MPFINV961I40

I highly recommend this netbook.

Personally, I like Word. I haven't had any problems with it and over the years I've come to know the program pretty well.


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skadder
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I would say an EEEpc (which I had) was too small for a man's hands--I'm no ogre and I struggled.

The MSI wind--which I also owned--had a (nearly) full size keyboard with--importantly, a proper return key. The EEEpc has a return key the same size as any other key and I kept missing it.

Writing software--WriteItNow is good--novel planner--for windows, but personally i end up back on word all the time. If you need a word processor then there are a few free ones--open office, abi word, etc.

Chairs. I want comfort if I plan to sit and type for hours. I would go for luxury soft exec chair--one you can get your legs up. Then you can type with your netbook on your lap should you wish to.

Rather than buy a net book you could consider buying and old ibook g4. Then you could get scrivener. The ibook g4 has great battery life, a full size keyboard and probably a 12 or 14 inch screen. I had one before and would have to say it beat the netbooks hands down for the same money.


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MartinV
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I think these plotting softwares are a waste of time. It's just like buying all those fancy fitness gadgets. Buying/getting them won't make you any fitter. I still believe in the old fashioned paper&pen for plotting.
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Jmsbrtms
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For software I use:

Word or Open Office or AbiWord or Google Docs. I normally use Word but I have old stuff that Word will not open. Open Office and AbiWord give me format options. Google Docs is for off site and backup-backup storage.

yWriter4 to keep track of everything. I break the work down by scene to help me focus. yWriter is faster than multiple word docs. It also has lots of other deep features I don't use.

Readplease, free version to help edit. This is Text to Voice. Not great but free. I'm always looking for a better free text to voice program.

Lastly I have Google Chrome running as a dedicated browser for writing. I bookmark Wiktionary.org and other writing resources sites like Hatrack. Frees up the Firefox link bar for surfing links and it helps keep personal distractions out of the writing. Also it looks more Pro when you show off the laptop.


openoffice.org
abisource.com
spacejock.com
Readplease.com
en.wiktionary.org


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Wolfe_boy
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My favorite writing software is Writeroom. The PC version is called Dark Room.

I've heard of and know people who use those novel-plotting software things, but as I try to write in an unstructured way I don't find them useful. Some folks I know from NaNoWriMo couldn't do without them - once properly set-up, they can be an invaluable tool. Just don't let it become a time sink.


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Dark Warrior
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Thanks all, I might just take the advice on the netbook to go to the big box store and try my fingers out on them, then shop for best bargain on that model online.

Skadder- That is exactly the type of chair I was thinking. I am building a new house too and that would go good in the new private office.

Software- You guys make good points. I will probably stick with word, but I want to look into the google apps for the netbook, and the blackberry I am getting for work.


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genevive42
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I will say that before I ordered my Asus Eee I went to the local Best Buy and test drove the chassis. I also did a lot of research.

But definitely make sure that it's a comfortable fit for you.

On a side note: I got my netbook for NaNo. My notes for my story are in a 1/2" hard binder that works as a perfect lap table when I'm sitting in the cushy chairs at Starbucks. The netbook is smaller than the three-ring notebook.


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skadder
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Bear in mind--typing 50 words in a shop is not the same as spending a few days using it. I took my eeepc to Turkey and used it for two weeks--I sold it when I got back.
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Dark Warrior
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quote:
My notes for my story are in a 1/2" hard binder that works as a perfect lap table

I have the same...1/2" journal style 8 1/2"x11" for my notes, theory crafting, and ideas


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Wolfe_boy
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Actually, if you're looking strictly for a writing machine, have you considered an Alphasmart?

Nigh on indestructible.
Full-sized keyboard.
700 hours battery life on 3 AA's.
Instant off & on.
No distractions.

Well, a Dana can connect to the net, but the Neo is a pure writing machine.

[This message has been edited by Wolfe_boy (edited November 25, 2009).]


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Dark Warrior
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I would definately need the net connection too, not just a word processor. Just looking for a nice, cheap alternative to getting out of my home office, maybe even writing a bit during lunch breaks at work.
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tchernabyelo
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I've been strongly considering an Alphasmart Neo as a "let's see you distract me NOW, Intarwebz!" writing machine. I'm not disciplined enough when I'm using the laptop (though hopefully I will be next week when I'm on a cruise and away from free wifi).
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Robert Nowall
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I can't speak for the idea of Netbook or writing software, but if you're getting a chair for your office, get a comfortable one, 'cause it'll be with you for years. (Reminds me that I need a new one, myself.)
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Teraen
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Not sure if this counts as advice, but have you checked out dvorak keyboards? (You can also get software (I think Microsoft has this as part of windows...) that makes your normal keyboard a dvorak input...)

I know there would be a learning curve trying to learn to type anew, but its supposed to make it easier to type in English than the querty setup. I've toyed for some time with the idea of learning it, and I'm thinking I'll give it a shot this summer.

Typing faster = more works done...


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Tiergan
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1)Notebook - I use an HP Pavilon. havent used anything else.
2)Chair - high back, adjustable lumbar support, and I would get arm rests, every now and then I like to lean back and just think a troubled scene over, and i want to be comfortable.
3)Software - Ywriter for novels and anything around 10,000 words or ver.

Yreader for text to voice, very strange sounding but believe it or not it cathces when you use a lot of words wrong and the same word too many times, even in sentence structure you see(I mean hear) right away too many "He did this, he did that)


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genevive42
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I keep the WiFi turned off on my netbook to avoid distraction but I'm glad it's there in case I want it. I didn't know about the Alphasmart though.
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Dark Warrior
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So thanks again for all the advice. For the netbook I officially went with--and mind you, I have no idea what half of these stats mean

Gateway LT2030u
Intel Atom Processor
10.1 LED LCD display
250 GB HDD
1GB memory
6Cell batter (7 hour charge)
Windows 7
Microsoft Office 2007 (Home/Student)
oh, and its Red


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genevive42
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Enjoy your netbook! I love the freedom mine gives me.

Note: If an upgrade to 2GB RAM isn't too much dough you might want to spring for it when you get the chance. Things will run faster. Depending on your model, it's probably really easy to install yourself.


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BenM
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Red ones go faster.
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skadder
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Yes, but they get stopped by the cops more.
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Pyre Dynasty
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My netbook is an Acer 10 inch (I just got it, can't tell you the exact model, love the keyboard layout, I won't buy a computer without trying out the keyboard for about five hundred words.) I don't actually ever connect it to the internet, it's a typewriter that has free cell on it.

My favorite chair: (which I don't own but use at school all the time and feels best to me) is a standard school type chair with four legs and heavy duty casters on the bottom of each leg.

Software: Wordperfect, I learned to type on a bluescreen, can't stand Word. Sure it's not free but my carpenter father taught me that a good tool is a good investment.


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mikemunsil
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http://wiki.libertyhallwriters.org/doku.php?id=home#software
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