RTW: Paper Trail

From YA Highway:

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question to write about on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.


This week's topic: What word processing program do you use to write your manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?


During elementary school, I "published" my first short story on a typewriter much like this one:

:: image credit ::

It weighed about a ton but had a cool carrying case with a handle.  Even then I loved to write outside.  I set up my workstation on our back deck and pecked away to the caw of blackbirds and blue jays and the buzz of the bees in the honeysuckle bush.

It was a story about a girl who travels to London with her family.  I had just devoured a Frommer's travel guide of the UK and my story was filled with descriptions of the places they visited, food they ate, and sweaters they purchased (of the fisherman variety).  I showed it to my teacher, who had little to say about it except that the family sure knew how to eat.

Over the years I've written in notebooks, journals, on scraps of paper, deposit slips, with an IBM olive green electric typewriter with white keys, an Apple IIc, various forms of PCs, a WordStar word processor, four different laptops (including my two most current, known as The Chad and T.B. Player).  In high school I wrote everything in composition notebooks with Bold Crayola Markers.


In case you can't tell from the picture, those are pencil drawings of a hummingbird and a swan.  The lyric at the top of the page is from an REM song, "Swan Swan H" -- Swan, swan, hummingbird, hurrah we're all free now. 

I've used a variety of word processing programs, including WordPerfect (gah) and google docs (a good place to back up your work), and have landed in a wonderful relationship with Word.  I switch back and forth between 2007 and 2010 depending on whether I'm using The Chad or T.B. Player.  I don't care for the weird default spacing with 2010 but overall we're happy together.

My favorite feature: FIND.  It's a great way to see just how many adverbs you've used or how many times you say "just."

What's your paper -- or pc -- trail? What program do you currently use and what do you love about it?

Kate, this one's for you:





Comments

  1. No mention of Bank Street Writer? What an injustice.

    Most of my work is with Microsoft OneNote. The app is part of our Office suite with work, and I have a note book that syncs to the Cloud. I can access the notebook via live.com, or with apps for my phone (Android) or iPad. Then I just copy/paste to blogger, add my videos/pictures, etc. and go! Easy peasy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How could I forget about Bank Street Writer?! Okay, here's a list of computers I've used, just for fun:

      PET
      Commodore 64
      TI-99
      Apple II
      Apple IIc
      Mac
      PC Taylor desktop
      Compaq desktop
      Compaq laptop (which weighs approx. 80 pounds)
      Dell desktop
      Toshiba laptop (briefly)
      Gateway laptop (back-up - The Chad)
      Dell laptop (T.B. Player)

      Your tools are quite savvy!

      Delete
  2. Wow, that's a whole lot ways to get your stories out! I think it's so funny that every single RTW post that I've visited today has been an "I use Word" post. I'm a Word girl too. :) I love the idea of Scrivener in theory, but in practice I'm Word all the way. I guess I figure why mess around with something that already works? There would be a giant learning curve involved with Scrivener (I own a copy that I don't use), and a whole lot of bells and whistles that I'll never use. So for now I'll be sticking with Word. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't really explored Scrivener. The first time I did NaNo I briefly looked into it but decided it wasn't something I needed. Word Works!

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. There are some interesting things written in that notebook, Kate... oh, the memories. Remember the instructor that told us spooky stories in the cemetery at St. Ben's? And how we got kicked out? I ran into him a few years ago at the Loft and told him how I'd never forgotten the story about the elevator and he just shrugged and said, "Oh, that? That's an old wives' tale." It was quite disappointing.

      Delete
  4. I scratch out ideas on whatever slip of paper is handy, too (My 'Bright Star' outline was done on a grocery store receipt. Fortunately, I buy a lot of food, so there was plenty of room to write!)

    I love the 'find' function, too. SOOO much easier than having to read and re-read to find a particular section.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to keep tiny notebooks in my purse because I kept losing all the little scraps of paper with my brilliant ideas!

      Delete
  5. Ooo colours! I do love my notes and writing to be all colourful. =D I'm still an avid fan of gel pens. ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still use Crayola markers occasionally but have moved on to Sharpies. I also picked up a package of multi-colored Bic Clic Stics during back-to-school. A very solid ball point. I haven't lost that love for colors!

      Delete
  6. Oh My. Gosh. You still have the lyrics notebook!!

    I can't tell you how many times I suggest to an author they use the FIND feature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I still have EVERYTHING. I flipped through and here's just a small sampling of lyrics in that one: The Cure (Shiver and Shake). Erasure (A Little Respect). The Sundays (You're Not the Only One I Know). Good times.

      Delete
  7. I can be terribly pragmatic at times, and I'm like that with software. Word does the job. If I had been using something else for the last 20 years that "did the job," I'd probably be a fan of whatever that might have been. As it is, Word is my go-to writing tool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - Word does everything I need and a lot that I don't need. Nothing fancy here!

      Delete
  8. I use Word. I tried Scrivener, which is great for plotting, but I'm back to Word.... Your old journal is cool looking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I apparently had a LOT of time on my hands when I was younger, because I have dozens of notebooks and journals filled with scribbles, poems, stories, drawings (some of them very poor), and general ephemera. I was disappointed that the Big Red packaging that was taped in this one no longer smelled like cinnamon.

      Delete
  9. I can't believe you can list all the computers you've ever had! That's quite a memory! I'm sticking with Word, too. I've given thought to Scrivener but I'm going with "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a very weird memory system in the old noggin. I can remember very specific details about many, many things that have happened over the years, but my short-term memory is shot. Like, I can't remember conversations I had yesterday. But, you know, stuff like what computer I preferred in elementary school (PET over Commodore 64) -- THAT stuff is super important.

      Delete
  10. I'm with Kitty. How the heck can you remember all that? For drafting I'm currently using yWriter and testing out Scrivener. For revisions it's all done in Word. Find has become my new best friend. ;p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See above reply to Kitty about weird memory system. Interesting that you draft in one and revise in another... we'll have to discuss.

      Delete
  11. I do love Google docs for both backing up work and sharing it with my crit partner. Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see how using google docs for CPs would be very useful, but also a little creepy. When I used google docs at my previous job, I was always freaked out when my co-workers would be changing things in a doc I was viewing. :)

      Delete
  12. I love that one of your computers is called The Chad! I just realized I don't have a name for my current computer. I'll have to think of one.

    I also use Word. Only for word processing though. It can do wonky things if you try to get too fancy with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Chad is named after a friend of mine from hs who lent me his old laptop one year for NaNo. He ended up selling it to me a couple of months later. I referred to it as "Chad's laptop" for a couple of years and it recently got shortened to The Chad.

      I like Publisher for fancy stuff. :) Also, I've been going ca-razy with picmonkey for fancy pictures.

      Delete
  13. I'm a Word girl. That and I have notebooks all around me for jotting down... well, notes. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love that notebook! I write occasionally in one too, but it's nowhere near as pretty. :)

    And yes - Word Nerd here. Probably always will be.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I also "published" my first works on a typewriter we still had knocking around the place at home - I believe they were a blatant rip off of Enid Blyton's stories. They probably don't exist any more sadly

    ReplyDelete
  16. I remember learning to type in high-school on an old Royal typewriter. "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Right? Thank goodness I never had to make a living as a secretary 'cause I was AWFUL!
    ~ Laura, YALitChat
    http://lexacain.blogspot.com/2012/09/belly-dancers.html

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts