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Author Robin Gianna on Writing Technology



I invited author Robin Gianna to come and talk to us about writing software. Please welcome Robin...


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Over to Robin now...


Do you embrace new technology, or do you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way?


I’m talking about writing a novel!  Right now, I fall into the old-fashioned camp, but am seriously considering updating to something else.  Though I guess I’m not totally old-fashioned - that would be pen and paper, and I know some authors actually still write that way. I can’t imagine it, but know those who do believe the process of hand writing then retyping their work into a computer helps them see the story better.


I have a Mac laptop, and use its Pages program. But because Microsoft Word is the industry standard, I do have to save it as a Word program before I send it off.  However, it’s an easy click to do that.

I’m sure there are lots of features within both of those programs that I haven’t explored, and keep track of my story very simply. I keep my work-in-progress all in one document.  Then I keep a second document with names, physical descriptions, and other details about each character. On that same document, I also note how each chapter begins and ends and a brief note about each scene and its purpose in the story. A friend of mine uses an Excel spreadsheet to do this, which sounds like a good idea I still haven’t gotten around to!  This simple approach has worked adequately for me so far.

But all the rest of it?  I keep research in a cumbersome notebook, and there’s usually a lot of it. Things I’ve printed from the internet, notes I’ve written to myself about the story, all the pre-writing stuff I do for character study and turning points and more scribbled notes as ideas come to me. Frankly, it’s a bit of a mess and takes time to sort through it all when I’m looking for something specific.


Recently, though, a friend showed me her Scrivener program that she had taken the time to learn, and now adores. Another friend (much more savvy about trying new products than I am) has used it for a long time and says she couldn’t write without it.


And it does look awesome!  You can break your work into chapters, scenes, and even paragraphs easily.  All the research?  Stored in one place and easily accessed.  Organizing and reorganizing your plot?  All there.  I could go on and on, but it sounds absolutely great. I know there would be a lot to learn to actually be able to use it, but the technophobe inside of me just might be shoved aside to make it happen sometime this year.



How about you? Do you still do some things the old-fashioned way?  What writing program do you use, and are you happy with it? Thinking of trying something new, and if so, what?




 


 
 
A family he didn't know he wanted…
When ex-flame Dr. Danielle Sheridan arrives at Chase Bowen's African clinic he's captivated by her… and her little son! Three years ago Chase turned down Dani's surprise marriage proposal—their life was just too dangerous for a family—but he didn't know she was pregnant!
Losing Dani once was hard enough. Losing her twice is not an option. Especially when he's already fallen for his adorable son, Drew. Now Chase is determined to make Dani his again—starting with an undeniable acceptance of her three-year-old proposal!
Buy Link

CHANGED BY HIS SON'S SMILE

30 comments:

  1. Didn't know that about Macs. I'd love to upgrade to one, but wow who has the time to learn a whole new system?? Still, I"m sure it's worth it.

    I don't use a writing program other than Word. But I do all my outlines and character sketches in spiral notebooks. I love the freedom it gives me.:)

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    1. I use the spiral notebooks, too! One for each book. It's worked so far, but as I said above, it ends up pretty messy by the time I'm deep into the book! Crammed with notes and extra sheets of printed character study stuff and research...*sigh* Maybe you and I need to design a spiral notebook with thick pockets made especially for writers!

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  2. All my notes are on paper. Call me crazy, but there's something about the organic process of transcribing by hand that cements things in the brain. I've actually trained my brain to retain most of these details, like mental shelves where story 1 and story 2 get placed to be resurrected by the right music or keywords/images at a later date. I'm trying to transition over to an electronic process, but so far it's a big fat FAIL. =)

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    1. This is so interesting to me Crystal, that this works for you, too! But 'mental shelves'? I hadn't really thought of it like that, but I believe you're right! I'm convinced that writing things down helps the info 'stay' in the brain - I nag my kids to always takes notes in class because it definitely helps make whatever you're trying to remember stick. You and I are together in trying this 'electronic transition' thing, and maybe someday getting it to work :-)

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    2. Or maybe after the electronic apocalypse we'll be the only two writers left. ;)

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    3. Ha! Possibly, Crystal! But as a Star Trek fan, I believe the future will still have the Jean Luc Picards who read paper books (which means a few of us die-
      hards will still be around, too :-)

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  3. One of these days (if I ever get a decent block of uninterrupted time) I'd like to try scrivener. But for now I still type, print out, correct with pen, then re-type. Time consuming, bit I catch more errors that way. And it gives me a hard copy to tote around in case I want someone's critique.

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    1. And don't you find that a hard copy helps you see things you somehow miss just looking at the computer? I sure do! And you're right, it takes sooo much time. But worth it in the end, I think.

      Thanks for stopping by and giving us your thoughts!

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  4. I think the stories I write on paper are my best but there's not time to do all that transposing. Have a friend who swears by Scrivener but even though I bought it I haven't been willing to spend the time to make it useful.

    Good post.

    Denise

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    1. That's my exact fear, Denise. When my friend was showing me all Scrivener's features I thought "Wow! This would be great!" Then I thought about how behind I am in my entire life and had to ask myself if I really would take the time to sit down and learn it. I'm still considering it, though...in all that free time I'm sure is going to happen someday...:-)
      Interesting to me that you feel the stories you write by hand are the best. The transposing would have to take an incredible amount of time, but I read that one author felt that when she 'recorded' her handwritten words into the computer, it helped her see the story and edits required very clearly. But again, it all comes down to time, doesn't it?

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  5. I love Scrivener! I know a lot of people says it's got a steep learning curve, but for the basics, it really doesn't. I do recommend the tutorial though - an hour well spent! And there's a free 30 day trial - and the 30 days are only the days you actually use it. Well worth a look!

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    1. Jemi, I almost wish you hadn't posted this! :-) All the steep-learning curve comments are what's kept me from taking the plunge. Now I just might have to....thanks so much for letting me know you didn't think it was torturous!

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  6. I love modernized and new software in most things, like on my tablet or when I'm photoshopping stuff. But I'm weird when it comes to writing. I use MS Office 2003. I hate anything else; I just like the tried and true. Great post, Robin! :)

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    1. And as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! :-) Thanks for your comment, Lexa!

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  7. It's great that technology has evolved to accommodate a writer's needs. Even so, I think individual comfort level is still the most important consideration.

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    1. Absolutely! Just like there's no one way to write, there's no one way to get it written! :-) By the way, I love your moniker!

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  8. I haven't even graduated to a laptop. I still type on my desktop PC. Sometimes, I write things in spiral notebooks. Talk about old fashioned. But it works.

    Regarding the book: sounds like a sexy romance, with a cute little one on the side. I like the formula.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Thanks for your nice thoughts on my book - I appreciate it!

      You know, while it's great to be able to take a laptop anywhere and write, I think there's something to be said for working on a desktop. Suzanne Brockman was keynote speaker at a conference I attended, and she talked about the importance of 'grounding' where your subconscious knows it's time to get to work. If you write in one place, and especially if you're able to only write there and not pay bills, etc. she believes it's easier to get straight back into the story. I think that just might be true!

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  9. I'm a Word girl through and through. I know where everything is, I know the little tips and tricks that get me through. Even though I've heard many people rave about Scrivener, I'd rather not take the time to learn something new. Call me a dinosaur! (yes, I do still use paper and pen too).

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    1. That's where you've got me beat, Lynda. I don't know Word or Pages through and through - maybe if I did, I wouldn't be as tempted to try Scrivener. How nice to know that all you have to do is concentrate on the story and not have to worry about how to best utilize your software - I'm jealous! :-)

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  10. I do use Scrivener to help my planning process, but I've never written the actual novel in Scrivener. I just don't love it the way some others do, but to each his own, right? :)

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    1. I know so little about it at this point, Kelly - how do you use it in the planning process, and what isn't appealing about it to you when actually writing?

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  11. All of that is so personal, almost as personal as voice. It's fascinating to read about how other writers keep track of the intangibles--notebooks, varying technologies, etc.

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    1. It is, isn't it Suze? I know I'm not alone, though, in wondering if I can be more efficient if I do things differently. I do feel like I waste a lot of time digging through my notebook for things - definitely not as organized as I'd like to be. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I have never tried Scrivener, but I have heard about it on other blogs. I guess it is something I should check out when I have time. I am a mix of technology and old school too. :)

    It was great to hear from Robin. Wishing her the best of luck!
    ~Jess

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  13. I am one of those old fashioned writers! I like the process of using a pencil and paper. I can see it much better, and I can analyze it again as I type it into the computer. Plus I can do it anywhere - even if there's no Wi-Fy connection.

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    1. That just amazes and impresses me, Sherry! How great that you know exactly what process works for you.

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  14. I've really consider getting Scrivener, but I do like keeping notes in either Word docs or in notebooks. I have tried Office's OneNote, and it's nice to separate out notes all in one place.

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    1. I'm sure that, no matter what, I'll still end up hand-writing notes sometimes. I suspect it's a habit neither of us could break, don't you think, Cherie? But this conversation has, I believe, convinced me I need to give Scrivener a try after I get this book turned in. If I can get the hang of it, anyone can! Will see...:-) Thanks for stopping by!

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