ljlee: where I work & play (workspace)
[personal profile] ljlee posting in [community profile] go_write
What do you write with? What's your workflow like? Is there particular software that you like to use for certain purposes, or do you prefer writing in longhand and transcribing to a computer later on? Has technology affected your writing process in any way?

I have a mix of processes. Generally I like Scrivener for its ability to organize snippets of writing and to keep all my research in the same place, but its lack of mobile options means I use Evernote a lot when I'm away from my computers. I'm also fond of longhand writing when I'm in libraries and on public transport. This means I have a lot of scattered notes and bits in different places, all of which I swear I'm going to transcribe to my Scrivener project someday.

A major boon for research purposes is Zotero, a citations database program where I can organize my citations and take extensive notes, with search and tag functions available for later reference. Like Scrivener via Dropbox and Evernote it's all synchronized online, meaning it's automatically backed up and available on whatever machine I log into.

The availability of cloud and synchronization technology like Dropbox, Evernote, and Zotero made things easier in some ways and gave me peace of mind in the form of automatic backup, but I also have a lot of paper notes that are one careless placement or a house fire away from getting lost forever. Better get to it, I guess.

Date: 2016-04-26 08:43 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Evernote looks a lot better for my on-the-go writing than whichever Notepad app I have on my phone. (I was looking for something that functions like Notepad for Windows. I failed to find this thing.) Since it's free, I'ma give it a try. Can't possibly be worse—the Notepad app I've got, when the keyboard's visible, does not hide either the filename or the ad, which leaves room for exactly two lines of text—and your rec suggests it's much better. Thanks!

On the computer I only use Scrivener, unless I'm trying to copy something into Scrivener, in which case I copy it to Notepad for Windows first and then cut from there to paste into Scrivener to strip the formatting because otherwise something will go sideways. Except when I have no choice but to work with docx files, in which case I use LibreOffice, which frankly sucks but then Microsoft Word sucks harder (not least because it not only costs a substantial sum, where LibreOffice is free, but is now on a pay-per-period rather than a pay-once-and-have-done). Or when I'm fiddling with HTML, in which case jEdit is my fave. So much better than Notepad for Windows or any Office product, at least when it knows it's working with HTML instead of plaintext. And I do like playing with raw HTML rather than WYSIWYG HTML output; much easier to get what I want that way.

Date: 2016-04-27 03:38 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai

Yeah, I was messing with Evernote a bit last night and I like it. Rec most definitely appreciated.

Shift-Ctrl-V? Never heard of. Shall have to try! Thank you!

Date: 2016-04-26 03:00 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jazzyjj
I used the free version of Jarte for a little while in Windows, and found it to be very nice. I also had good luck with Ms Word and, back when I used DOS, WordPerfect. On the Mac side of things, TextEdit has worked great for me thus far. I had a brief look at Pages and was impressed with it. Thanks to Apple's accessibility enhancements to Pages, I might start using that more for writing purposes. There's also a very good guide to Pages on a website I frequent which is dedicated to discussion of Apple's accessibility features for people with low or no vision. In addition, I want to try out MarsEdit once I get an external hard drive for my MacBook. I honestly haven't had time for much pleasure writing lately, but that will hopefully change very soon.
Edited (added some text.) Date: 2016-04-26 03:10 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-04-26 04:21 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
I'm still keeping up my longhand writing a large percentage of the time, but everything has to end up typed eventually, and editing is done exclusively on the computer.

For official work, I use Scrivener for its scene/chapter organization - haven't managed to make great use of its outlining or research collecting features (yet?), but when I'm scrolling through 80k in Word looking for the right scene, I remember why I do novels in Scrivener.

But also like you, the lack of mobility has become an obstacle. After I set up my Dropbox folder to sync with my documents folder, it was amazing to realize that I could access anything anywhere, on my phone exactly the same as my computer - except any work in Scrivener. I mean, it's there in case of hard drive crashes, but impossible to work with. So I've taken to using Word for everything non-novel. It's also nice to be able to send files to my writing club buddy or anyone else without going through the exporting, or accidentally making edits in the doc and then having to copy them back by hand into Scrivener.

For notes I'd already been using OneNote for a while, ever since they finally launched for Mac and their iOS app came up to par. I always wanted to get into Evernote because it's not Microsoft and all the cool kids are doing it, but I came to hypothesize that everyone's brain must work better with one or the other, and OneNote is the one my brain likes.
[The tabs across the top. I neeeed the tabs - across the top and down the side. It's so orderly. It's so beautiful. Haha.]
And OneNote becomes a go-between in a sense; I can refer to it whether I'm working in Scrivener or in Word. And I use it for everything else in my life, with the same phenomenon as Dropbox - access anywhere. What a crazy time for information.

Date: 2016-05-03 02:38 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
I sure wished I hadn't let my left hand practice drop off when I splashed hot oil on my right hand the other week. In the end I was able to write again quickly, but that first night I would have been very happy not to be tripped up.

Scene order collections is something to remember... I've switched things around quite a bit as well.

I typically only use Scrivener on one computer, so I haven't run into issues with conflicting versions so far. But from the few times I've left a Word document open on my computer, edited something on my phone and then forgot to refresh the open document, I would not want to deal with that with a large Scrivener work.

I LOVE your OneNote/Evernote analogy. And "it's awfully...green." I had a very good laugh.

Date: 2016-05-03 06:14 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
Hand is fully recovered! This is, oddly, three weeks to the day. It only had one small blister, so it healed well and there are just a few faint marks left. Unluckily, exactly a week after the burn (watch out for Tuesdays, I swear) I got caught in a retractable dog leash, between a dog and a squirrel, so now I also bear an impressive red scar from one side of my knee all the way around the back to the other. It was like extremely concentrated rope burn, do not recommend. And I'm such a risk-averse person, I experienced more injury in those two weeks than I have in the past ten years. So let's say I'm set for the next ten, right?

Date: 2016-04-26 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
I would love to be able to type the story directly into the word program. Unfortunately, I am much more productive when I handwrite the scenes and ideas. Later, I transcribe the notes into LibreOffice and sync with GoogleDrive. Occasionally, I type in notes with KindleFire w/wireless keyboard, and then sync with GoogleDrive. I like the simplicity of LibreOffice and it's word count tool. Rarely at 2 am or so, I use a Voice Recorder app to make scene notes to transcribe later.

Recently, I started to use a spreadsheet to keep track of word counts, story summaries, and story status(wip/complete/oneshot).
Edited Date: 2016-04-26 09:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-04-27 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
Hi, nice to meet you too.

GDrive process- I keep a shortcut to my GDrive folder on my desktop. I can save directly into the folder or drop files into it. This allows me to have a copy on my hard drive and a copy synced to the cloud.

Spreadsheet- I can remember the plot details of old wips. I just can't remember what I named the files. New inspiration hits, new file created, and soon I have 5 slightly different versions of the same story. January 1, I went on an organization kick and everything is straight... so far.

Date: 2016-04-26 10:26 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (OM NOM NOM)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I wrote a fic!

Hypothesis in scarlet (3765 words) by sevenofspade
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Wanda Maximoff, James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Avengers: Age of Ultron (Movie)
Summary: Don't bring a formerly brainwashed assassin to a mutant fight.


I mostly write on my computer, using FocusWriter (free). Until very recently, I used Zenwriter, having somehow gotten over two years worth of free trial (instead of two weeks). Zenwriter's fullscreen was better, but Focuswriter lets me keep several documents open at once and can be resized if needed, which is very useful.

I also sometimes write in Notepad (or similar). I always hardcode my HTML anyway.

On my phone I use Writer (also free), but it hasn't been working so good lately, I think I might have too many files in the folder? Idk.

For editing, I supposedly used yWriter5 (free) and now use yWriter6 (free too), but I am bad at editing and so have not gotten quite so much use out of them yet. I do like being able to say where scenes are and store those locations (+ important objects + what characters are in what scenes etc) outside of notes, though.

I've made extensive use of the "convert to format" option in Calibre (free) to turn projects into epubs with chapter formating so I can read them as "books" and not "that shitty draft I spend a year banging out".

APPARENTLY I AM HELLA CHEAP (also I have four different wordcount tracking spreadsheets, lmao)
Edited (html) Date: 2016-04-26 10:28 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-04-27 08:38 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I know me, and there's a risk that the more fancy the writing program, the more time I'll lose messing with all the fancy functions.

yWriter pretty useful in that the import function is super easy to sue and if you follow the conventions, it will even divide your text into scenes and chpaters on its own! And when you export it, it's got every new chapter beginning on a new page. Then off to calibre I go and zoom, here I have a an ebook version of my project!

Having it be a "book" is super helpful to see things different, with the format switch.

Date: 2016-04-29 09:36 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I think it got recced to me as a non-Mac alternative for Scrivener, actually. It's got some nifty stuff -- for ex you can store descriptions of characters in separate files and look those up as needed.

EREADERS ARE AMAZING. And having your own novel on it really helps it feel like AN ACTUAL BOOK OMG.

Date: 2016-04-27 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
You're not alone in your freebie habit. I've also tried most of the programs you have mentioned.

Thanks for the info about Calibre. I haven't tried that one yet.

Off to check out fic.

Date: 2016-04-27 09:19 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
What other programs have you tried?

I find it very useful, especially when it comes to having ebooks on both an ereader and a phone at once.

I hope you like it!

Date: 2016-04-27 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
In the past I've tried to plot with--
Plume Creator</>
There's probably more, but those are the ones I can still remember.

The programs that have the lasted the longest with me are LibreOffice, FocusWriter, and yWriter.

Date: 2016-04-29 09:44 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
How did you find those? Especially Tiddlywiki.

Date: 2016-04-29 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
More likely than not from the NaNoWriMo forum. Under various names, I've been a visitor to the site for over 5 years. Haven't won yet, but I do pay attention to the (free) writing tech people share.

Date: 2016-04-30 10:03 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
Sorry, I meant: what are their upsides/downsides for you?

Date: 2016-04-30 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
Opps, sorry for misreading that. Plume Creator and Storybook lasted maybe a week for me. They just weren't what I was looking for. I remember their names more than my experience.
Tiddlywiki, I found helpful at organizing info- scene descriptions, item descriptions, major and minor characters. While looking though other tiddlywikis, I saw someone who used it for a choose-your-own-adventure type novel.

Con-I remember spending too much time playing with how it looked and worked. Currently, I have the program deleted for the 3rd time. By the end of the weekend, I will be on 4th try with it.

Date: 2016-05-01 09:43 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I could have been clearer, sorry!

Thank you for the explanation. Does tiddlywiki work offline? I can't seem to find a definite answer either way.

Date: 2016-05-01 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tblspoon
It's almost like saving a .htm file to your computer, except you need to have the browser open to make changes. Internet connection is only required to download the needed add-on(depending on browser) and the file.
Edited Date: 2016-05-01 10:55 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-05-04 11:53 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
Thank you.

Date: 2016-04-27 06:22 pm (UTC)
jae: (writinggecko)
From: [personal profile] jae
I love me some Scrivener! I write shorter things in Word, but I'd be lost without the ability to keep all of my research on hand with anything long.

I'm actually one of those weirdos who can't seem to write ANYTHING longhand, anymore--I even take just casual notes into a note on my phone or on my laptop. And with longer things, I'd just be lost without the ability to cut and paste, move things around, all that stuff. People who write fiction longhand baffle and amaze me.


Date: 2016-04-27 09:15 pm (UTC)
lizbee: (TV: Orphan Black)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
New subscriber, aiming to become a member!

I use a whole lot of programs and systems, depending on what I'm writing. Fic nearly always goes into Google Docs. Original novels, Word and Word Online. (If I save the file to Dropbox, I can use my Office subscription to edit it in my browser at work when I don't have more pressing duties.)

I've tried several times to use Scrivener, but although I like it a lot, I just can't get my head around it. And it's not as portable as a cloud-based word processor.

All that said, I'm also Team Longhand -- especially when I'm stuck on something, switching to pen and paper forces me to slow down a bit and think about the work differently. Even if I just write a couple of paragraphs by hand before switching back to the digital version, it helps build momentum. (Plus, I just enjoy the act of handwriting.)

Date: 2016-04-28 04:48 am (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
Scrivener is so worthless for sharing things it isn't funny, but it's not a bad tool for when I haven't shared any of what I'm working on, and I love the ability to hierarchically organize a story. OTOH, it's such overkill that often I just end up creating projects called "misc[fandom]shorts.scriv" because do I really need a new folder and a new file and all of Scrivener's many incredible features for something like The Lady's Gifts? No, I do not.

...But then sometimes I think "lol, I'll add a 63verse folder to miscpernshorts.scriv and write a couple thousand words of genderbend" and then I. Well. Do not do that. Instead I end up having to move the whole thing to a new project and that is kind of annoying. But I love how it lets me play around with subfolders and stuff. Because sometimes being able to put each chapter together in its own folder is AMAZING and I love being able to see my scene list all laid out like that and it's really the best.

OTOH, every now and then, Scrivener accidentally eats my files or becomes unopenable, to the point where I have had to open my damn fics from the command prompt to figure out what has gone so badly wrong.

But for certain projects, you just can't beat a hand-drawn handwritten tumblr mockup for demifiction in sort of an AUSJesque vein. And of course GDrive is better if you don't have consistent access to one machine or want to share things.

One thing is I actually enjoy Scrivener's ability to open two things side-by-side and compare them without having to open them sequentially or switch back and forth. I've used that twice recently. Once in putting together my notes for something, because I needed both an original work and someone's mondegreen-filled misparsing thereof (and then I needed to consult the mondegreen-filled version while writing the scene it's described). And once to make two scenes hit roughly the same beats and make sure my phrasing was just similar enough to make it sort of echo weirdly, to make it clear to the reader and to a character involved in the situation that these two scenes were meant to be compared to each other.

So yeah, Scrivener for the... something other than win. Scrivener a large fraction of the way! I love Scrivener but now and then it really does irk me quite a lot.

And I love things which autosave. Usually.

Date: 2016-04-29 08:15 pm (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
That actually gives me an idea. It could be that I can make GDocs do this already. I'm going to check.

ETA: Okay, so, this might work. GDocs can be made to sort by title, so naming the scenes "aa beginning scene" and "ab they go into space" could work, and just have different documents for each scene. However! I don't see a way to share an entire folder at once. It'd be a lot of work to then share each thing and then have both people create identical folders to put them in. Splitpane could be achieved with a workaround (two browser windows).

The metadata for this is going to be a LOT of work, which Scrivener would do for you instead of you needing to do it manually, but GDocs could totally be made to act as a hierarchically organized project folder. Yep. But the work to put it together unless I can figure out how to share a whole folder at once... ugh.

*pokes around some more*

Ooh! It's possible to share a whole folder at once, apparently! Hey, can I put together a test of this system and you can tell me if it makes sense from your end? Might be kind of a lot of work to go between scenes, though... but now I'm really excited and want to see if this works out. I'll make the thing and share it with you, anyway, and if you have time you can poke around and see if it makes sense as a way to collab in the future.

(Also, hi! :) Good to see you, too!)
Edited Date: 2016-04-29 08:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-04-30 06:12 pm (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
There's sort of a binder, it being the page for the subfolder you're looking at. Though as the example I used had folders for chapters I don't know how to view the entire thing at once. The main folder shows the chapter subfolders, and the chapter subfolders show lists of all the scenes therein, at least using the display options that I'm using.

Of course it'd be a bit of work to make that splitpane with the current scene...

Thanks for poking around. I don't know if I'll do this again because it is a lot of work to set up. GDocs isn't really made for mass-creation of a bunch of similar documents. To create a new document takes an extra click and then there was the naming thing. (This project, on my computer, in Scrivener, does not have scene names.)

(And note for anyone intending to copy me: I opted to preface scene names with aaa, bbb, ccc, etc, rather than just a, b, c. If I'd used single letters, adding something in the middle would be awful; you'd have to rename everything after it. This way it's possible to, e.g., add in a bbc or bbd or bbe in between bbb and ccc. I did feel that prefacing titles with eee made them seem excessively excited.)

Yeah, this is not exactly Scrivener. It's sort of the same features but not nearly as user-friendly.

By the way, did you get a single email notif that the whole folder was shared, or did Google spam your inbox with separate notifs for every scene?

Anyway, thanks for helping test this!


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