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Technology - What do you use?


We have so many different ways of writing these days. Some choose to stick to paper (and then what KIND of paper, and pen? Moleskines? Waterfords?) or typewriters for that authentic feel. There's desktop computers, laptops, alphasmarts, iPads...

And then there's the programs. Oh, the programs! Word, OpenOffice, Pages, Scrivener, Celtx, Write or Die, Storyist, My Writing Nook, iWriter, Manuscript, Chapters, Google Documents...

And then there's voice recognition software, like Dragon Dictation, for those who've written their joints away into the scary depths of RSI. Like myself, last November. DOn't try to write 50,000 words in a week, you will suffer for it after.

Some say they like to combine a few. They'll use a notebook for notes, a program for organising maps/storylines/characters/etc and then a program for writing the novel. And then sites like EditMinion and Wordle to start editing, to find weak words or words used too often. And then maybe a few other programs and tricks and tips.

So I'm here to ask you, what do you use? Do you use notepad/word/open office and simply WRITE, or do you have a collection of programs, reference books and sites that assist you every stop of the way?


Honestly, it depends on what I'm writing. For my fantasy epic which I've worked on for years, I have napkins, menus, notebooks and every other place I could write an idea for that, but I mostly have three or four marble notebooks I keep all of those ideas in, and I type as I get the inspiration to write a particular story within the massive system/world/character web I've created.

Honestly, I prefer to write in pen and paper when I write notes, but I have a writing disability that was identified by a professor of mine in college where I apparently do not quite write in English (not bad handwriting, but more often words that are not words, no matter how I read them). So therefore I type to save the minds of the still sane.

I like writing in Word, but GoogleDocs is growing on me. To edit, I print and read and reread, and have others draft my work as well. Most work I post here will probably be rather rough (only a quick reread on my part), as I do not like the idea of editing programs. Nothing beats a person reading your work and giving good feedback (and if the word "Amazatabulous" is used too often, but the reader likes it, that's Amazatabulous (on another note, I hate fake words like "Amazatabulous")).

:D Good question, as I'd like to hear what other people use.
Honestly, it depends on what I'm writing. For my fantasy epic which I've worked on for years, I have napkins, menus, notebooks and every other place I could write an idea for that

I have quite a few organic things like that too. Napkins (that are fading), bills, receipts, post it notes, work documents from my full time job that have been scribbled on (you never know when an idea will come to you) and many many notebooks scattered throughout my house.....they're scattered because I moved a couple years ago.....and I'm now fearing some of them may not have survived the trip. I'm missing a few books. :(

I tend to use Word when I actually sit down to type. But I've also started using One-Note. It's been helpful (for me) for my organizational aspect. You can put images in there, outlines, character developments and there are multiple tabs, so you can create tabs specifically for each character and each character can have their own sub-tab and so forth.

I used to save notebooks specifically for my writing, but then I sometimes got too afraid to write it in for fear I would "mess it up." With compter docs - delete is easy.


Oh! Haha. I thought you ment within your fantasy^^. I write in my notepad then write it up on this computer and edit :). Oh, and i keep notes on my phone, computer and notepad. Any ideas that come to mind go there.

Philip Overby

Article Team
When I do National Novel Writing Month I always keep several small notebooks with me. I used to cringe at the thought of writing that way after doing so much writing on typewriters and computers. But I feel it's a great way to get your writing down at any moment of the day.

Sometimes I like to write whole novels in a draft in my email. That way anytime I have access to email, I can work on my novel easily. That way I don't have to worry with format issues on different computers or downloading anything. Just plug away at e-mail and save it!


I do most of my writing on computer any more… where, to my regret, I've pretty much been compelled to shift to Word for reasons of availability and portability. (For those with an aesthetic for word processors, though, Nisus Writer is much better. If you've only ever used Word, you have no idea how much better things could be.…)

Notes tend to end up on whatever is closest to hand, which can be a real hassle if what's closest to hand isn't where you normally keep your notes. (The prepaid reply postcard inserts in magazines, which I often use as bookmarks, see heavy usage here.) Even with "normal" note-taking materials, I run into trouble: I have entire piles of post-its that I'm sure contain information I wanted to remember… but which I haven't gotten around to putting in a more permanent format. Same with index cards. Worse, usually the two are mixed, so they don't even stack neatly. :p

On the bright side, I've finally found something that works very well for me: spiral bound 9.5'' x 6'' college-rule with section dividers, usually 150 sheets divided into three sections. Each new project gets its own section. I work from both ends of the section–forward, writing actual text to be used, while notes go in the back of the section. I've yet to use up an entire 100-page section: I normally transfer the project to the computer long before I hit that point. I used to write everything in pencil–in part because I can write smaller and still be legible with pencil: I still use it for marginal annotations–but I've shifted to ballpoints for general usage any more; they seem to "flow" a little better, thus easing strain on the hands.

As for "a collection of reference books": do you mean about writing? Or about anything? In either case, the answer for me is "yes."
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I do all of my writing on my computer in Word, due to features/availability. Notes however, tend to end up either in my collection of notebooks on on my phone, depending on where I happen to be at the time. If I'm writing or at the computer when the idea strikes, I have separate 'idea' files.


I do all of my writing on my computer in Word, due to features/availability.

Whereas I use it in spite of its features. Like I said, you don't know what you're missing–or what's being inflicted on you unnecessarily–until you've seen some of the others. Sadly, the Evil Empire has pretty much guaranteed that none of the alternatives will ever become commercially competitive. That, plus the fact that Mac OS X isn't backwards compatible, unlike all their previous releases (which also is in part the fault of the Evil Empire), so my computer will no longer run the version of Nisus Writer I have (can't even load it in order to download upgrades… not sure there are any :( ).

If I'm writing or at the computer when the idea strikes, I have separate 'idea' files.

Me, too. Several, in fact, sorted by category. Notes on the present work might just go down at the end, if it's a short piece (less likely I'll forget I made them that way :p ); longer works get a separate file.
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I also find that I carry a tape recorder with me. I talk to myself (more than I like to admit) quite often, namely doing dialogue scenes and what not. Since no one is around to write it down for me (and a lot of my long talks happen in the car)...I'll record myself and play it back later, writing it down if I like what I hear. So I also have a few tapes of notes as well. Sometimes the dialogue doesn't work right, right away, but some of it can be used or applied to different characters later.


I use Word and Notepad.

Really, it doesn't matter how you get it written down; only that you DO get it written down.
I have arthritis and carpo in my left hand which is my writing hand.. I can't write for more then 5 minutes before my hand craps up.. So I use anything I can type on LMAO at the moment I'm trying to find a prog to convert texxtmaker files into word files since the last time I did a draft of the book I was using a netbook with windows ce and yeah -.- I do prefer type writers I had a nice old Royal but it broke a few years ago so I got the netbook not realizing it would make my life hell to send a manuscript when I can't open it on my PC now -.-


Mostly a Word document and perhaps a random notebook for when I was in school. I don't care for those fancy programs - Liquid Story Binder, Scrivener, etc. - and mostly think of them as extra distractions I don't need. And I have shite handwriting, so too much work in a notebook is out of the question.


I just use Word, or, when I'm on my netbook, Open Office Writer. I sometimes make notes by hand in my notebook, or, if I'm on campus, in an email which I then send to myself because storage space on the uni system is very limited and prevents me from logging off before I delete stuff at least once a week.


New Member
It all depends upon the type of writing such as writing a novel,or a book or an article or blog.For blog and article writing i use ms-word and for writing long pieces of text like novels or book i use literal software.I like two thing about literal is that it provides distraction free writing and other thing is its advanced features like binder,split screen,importing old files in current document etc.


Been meaning to look into dictation software, if only for the kick I'd get out of it. I type very fast, so I doubt any current entries into that field would help me.

I use OpenOffice right now for the bulk of my writing, when I'm actually at my own computer. Wordpad or Notepad get used when I'm just 'jotting' things down to email to myself from other locations. I've also recently (as in, yesterday) started using Google Docs and my new phone to write on the run. It's fun! Slow though.

And of course there is the old, usurped king, the pen and pencil, which I only use when I have to. My handwriting is terrible and my hand cramps up quickly when I'm handwriting.


I have word but I prefer to use LibreOffice. I keep OpenOffice (they're practically identical) on my computer in case I ever need to open a Microsoft office file. Other than that? Pen and paper of almost any kind :D.

Edit: Also due to this thread I have discovered Write or Die, which I now love since I'm a new writer and need a push most of the time XD.
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For me I still like to write in old antique looking journals with pen. Its fun to me classic way of writing I suppose but then after I have it all written down I type it up on the comptuer. This way it's corrected of spelling errors etc. Then print it off then I edit it some more untill finally I have it just the way I want the story to be.



I used to be a diehard pen-and-paper advocate. It helps me think better. But you can't beat the convenience of editing in a word processor.


Earlier I said dictation software probably wouldn't be worth it. I'm revising my opinion - or at least open to the idea that I could be wrong. I recently purchased a new phone, a Droid X. It has built-in voice recognition software, and it works like a CHARM. Seriously, even two years ago voice recognition was crappy. Now this thing comes along and can perfectly parse the sentence "All I want is a proper cup of coffee made in a proper copper coffee pot" (and lots of other tests I ran it through) with some background noise.

I am impressed.


Personally everything starts off on pen and paper, whether it is in a notebook or is just loose-leaf is another matter. Then actual text gets transferred to yWriter 5 and notes on worldbuilding/characters/anything else related to the story gets inputted into a program called Tiddlywiki, its basically a wiki that is saved on your computer. I like it because you can link related topics. I highly suggest it for organizational purposes.