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yWriter
February 11, 2012 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Since its last* appearance in the blue, yWriter has been updated to version 5. Designed specifically for novels, this freeware "contains no adverts, unwanted web toolbars, desktop search programs or other cruft".
posted by Trurl (56 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have also found Mr. Haynes' yTimer 2 is a well-designed, no-bullshit piece of software goodness.
posted by Trurl at 7:13 AM on February 11, 2012


Do you know if it can be used for non fiction or something similar for non fiction - allowing the same way of organizing information into chapters?
posted by infini at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2012


How sad that "contains no crap" is now such a major bullet point for an application.
posted by jepler at 7:29 AM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Do you know if it can be used for non fiction or something similar for non fiction

The developer sez: "Although yWriter was designed for novels, enterprising users have created their own translation files to customise the program to work with plays, non-fiction and even sermons." But I've not found any examples available for download.

This enthusiastic review describes itself as having been written in the program.
posted by Trurl at 7:33 AM on February 11, 2012


Wow, that's a cluttered UI. Why not just use a directory with multiple files within that directory instead? You could use a progammer's editor with a file navigation pane and get the same benefits (Bluefish, maybe).
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:41 AM on February 11, 2012


"cruft". what a great word.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 7:42 AM on February 11, 2012


I've published 12 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 50+ short fiction pieces and have written (not published) probably triple that. FWIW, I've never needed anything more than a typewriter (in the old days) and, more recently, a factory issue word processing program. To me, anything other than that is a distraction from the need to just do the freaking work already.
posted by reacheround at 7:42 AM on February 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


Maybe this is just because I recently spent a week writing a foolish adventure story with Inform 7, but this looks remarkably like something someone might use to write interactive fiction.
posted by vanar sena at 7:54 AM on February 11, 2012


I've never needed anything more than a typewriter

Well, they say Walter Scott once had inspiration strike while hunting, so he shot a crow, plucked a feather, sharpened its tip, dipped it in the creature's blood, and set down the line.

So there.
posted by Trurl at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


reacheround: " To me, anything other than that is a distraction from the need to just do the freaking work already."

Fair enough. OTOH people managed to create bibliographies for centuries before BibTeX, but it's still a useful bit of kit.

This reminds me of the IDE-vs-vi flamewars.
posted by vanar sena at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


To me, anything other than that is a distraction from the need to just do the freaking work already.

WriteRoom, for Mac and iOS, does this for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:11 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why, in my day, we built houses, stores, and chest o' drawers cutting the wood with our teeth, holding everything together using glue made outta spit an' horse-hooves, hooves we bit off the horse as it walked by. Who needs these dang saws and nails? I' tell ya, the youth of today...
posted by dancestoblue at 8:15 AM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I believe Shakespeare wrote his plays without the aid of a typewriter... probably with parchment and quill and ink. Silly modern tools!
posted by WalterMitty at 8:16 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting how this software, in its attempt to be helpful, carries with it a presumption of what a novel is and what kind of structure it should have—chapters composed of scenes that (per the author's experiences) could be moved around. No writing The Melancholy of Resistance here.
posted by kenko at 8:17 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ooh, a writing software thread! yWriter is nice, I used it several years ago for my first afield NaNoWriMo attempt. Nowadays I use Mac-only Ulysses, which has the following features I love:

1. "semantic" editing - basically custom markup so I can write the text and structure and then customize my output style later in the process

2. Full-screen "console mode" a la WriteRoom

3. The ability to output to a bunch of formats, including PDF and LaTeX

It doesn't get nearly as much love as Scrivener, and Scrivener is a great app with a great community, but I just can't get me enough Ulysses.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:18 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


^afield = failed. Really, spellcheck?!
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:20 AM on February 11, 2012


I'm in academic writing, and I swear by Scrivener right now, particularly its ability to let me:

1. toss in placeholders for essay sections with a few notes, which I can move around later

2. see various sections together on one page, when I need to see how they flow together

3. toss my research notes, quotes, interviews, images, web pages, etc. into research folders that I can consult later.

Having said that, I do covet Ulysses' ability to output cleanly to PDF. And, since I'm shackled to EndNote right now, I'm still forced to output my drafts to a Word format before filling in bibliographic stuff.
posted by LMGM at 8:27 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of the IDE-vs-vi flamewars.

You mean where they are both wrong?

EMACS 4EVA INCLUDING WRITING BOOKS--YOU AREN'T GOING TO BE PERSONALLY TYPESETTING IT ANYWAY, SO USE PLAIN TEXT OR AT LEAST PROGRAMMABLE MARKUP LIKE TEX
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


DU: "EMACS 4EVA"

Emacs is an IDE.
posted by vanar sena at 8:31 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I use Word 2003. Before that I used Multimate. Before that, a typewriter. I don't care about the tools as long as they don't get in my way. The problem for me is, older versions. I have things on floppies. Five and a quarter floppies and the three-inchers. Pity me. It's easier to OCS an old manuscript than to find a disk drive.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2012


Umm- EMACS IS AN OS!
posted by symbioid at 9:34 AM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


In my mind, "cruft" refers to elements of software that are no longer serving a useful purpose (or are even counterproductive), but are difficult to remove for technical reasons. For instance, some elements of modern Linux that are inherited from Unix are cruft.

The stuff that yWriter promises it doesn't have any of are something other than cruft: they're crap that application authors and distributors deliberately add even though they have no value for users. They're added because they do have value for the authors and distributors—they get paid for each installation of the toolbar, for instance.
posted by jepler at 9:43 AM on February 11, 2012


EMACS IS AN OS!

Emacs is a way of life, an full AI psychological diagnostic system, Game development system, Amazon was originally run as an emacs .elc.
posted by sammyo at 9:44 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Emacs is a way of life, an full AI psychological diagnostic system, Game development system, Amazon was originally run as an emacs .elc.

If only it had a text editor!

/makes vi gang signs
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:05 AM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


The best writing software produced by anybody, anywhere, IMO, is Scrivener. You can download a free trial for 30 days (which means 30 days of actual use, not just a month).
posted by jokeefe at 10:14 AM on February 11, 2012


...and I'm late to the thread with the Scrivener love. Nevermind, the more the merrier.
posted by jokeefe at 10:16 AM on February 11, 2012


Y'know, I've written rather a lot of books too.

Including on a manual typewriter and on a UNIX-hosted terminal using vi. (None of your new-fangled vim nonsense, either -- we're talking vi and a custom bunch of troff macros, too.)

Nevertheless, I really like Scrivener for certain types of job, and if I used Windows I'd probably be into yWriter too. You can use either of them as a writeroom-style "white page in middle of the screen, no distractions" text entry device. Or you can use them for messing with the deep structure of a book. Got three or more intertwining plot strands with different protagonists and want to make sure that plot thread 1 only refers to character A having met character B after A meets B in plot thread 3? That's what tools like yWriter and Scrivener are good for.

Yes, you can do this manually using cut'n'paste in a text editor. Or scissors and paste and a manual typewriter. But the important thing is that you don't have to do it the hard way any more. And for those of us who enjoy modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and central heating, this is not a bad thing.
posted by cstross at 10:32 AM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


Because Scrivener doesn't really advertise this much on their front page, I thought I'd just like to bring it to everyone's attention that Scrivener is now out on Windows. Here's a thirty day trial!
posted by Modica at 10:33 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are a handful of programs I still miss after my move from Mac to Linux fulltime. OmniOutliner and OmniFocus are two I used virtually every day. Scrivener I bought but never took the time to explore fully, which I regret.

(There was/is a beta of a Linux version of Scrivener, but from what I read my OS X license wouldn't be transferable.)
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:46 AM on February 11, 2012


I have a vision for software that would blow all these things out of the water. Sadly, I'm not a programmer, nor a writer. But it would be an organizational tool but with a very very slick UI (almost oriented towards touch, but touch wouldn't be necessary) -- nice fat "handles" to the controls.

Maps, Family Trees, Timeline feature (with dragable timeline slider to show the evolution across time of regions). I could see this being used for grand narratives and historical epics... Game design could use something like this, as well.... The standard Bio and other sorts of features would be included as well.

And while yWriter and Scrivener are the two that I've seen that have nice organizational features I've yet to see something as epic as I imagine...
posted by symbioid at 10:59 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Recent scrivener convert. Didn't work for me back when I was pantsing it (and neither did ywriter, when I tried it), but the last project I wrote was the most cohesive and tight first draft I've ever banged out. Virtual index cards FTW!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:04 AM on February 11, 2012


If you write and you have never tried a typewriter, please at least try one. Make sure it's fully manual; electrics sort of defeat the point. I prefer Hermes and Olivettis myself, but there are plenty of brands out there, and it's easy to tell if it works or not.

You can pick one that was used by your favorite writer, or maybe by the decade it was built in. For me, there isn't anything that surpasses the beauty of the 1940s Remington Streamliner except the raw precision and utility of a Hermes 2000 or 3000. Olivetti Letteras, from the 50s and 60s are certainly gorgeous, as well as the larger, unportable Studio 44. But maybe you're looking for a squat, angular, plastic Olivetti or Underwood that plays the theme from the Price Is Right in your head every time you open it.

There will be no backspace, no search, no autofill, spellcheck, thesaurus, autosave, cloud-syncing, or bold or italic. There won't be any boot up graphic or any icons. No updates will be available, and there is no upgrade for $9.99 to store more words or write more words, excepting your steady practice at the keys: writing, thinking, remembering. You will need stock up on ink ribbons and paper. Binders will have to be filled and organized; pages will have to be numbered; word counts will have to be guessed at.

However, at the end of each line, a bell will ring out in celebration. The clack-clack-zip as you throw the carriage back to start will invite you to keep your rhythm going for the next line. You can drag your typewriter to any window, even if there isn't power, even if your favorite spot gets the full light of the sun. It can be placed on a desk behind your house half in the woods, far away from the whirr and blinking of everything else. You can spend this time writing, or you can spend it spread out in your adirondack chair with a cup of coffee at your side while you linger in the afternoon, the half-empty page gently tapping as the wind trickles by.

Instead of another e-mail, or phone call, or neurotic cycle of web searching for some new trick to play on yourself to write-something-damnit, you may drift off into memories conjured by the hush of wind through your neighborhood and the smell of early fall. It might remind you of gazing at the tallness of trees while golden leaves spiraled towards the still green grass in that five minutes you had to yourself between the bus stop and your door. In turn, that may remind you of the smallness of your hands on doorknobs that are now small themselves, and of all the times you wondered about what was behind the other side of doors. (When did you stop doing that?)

Or you may sit in silence, enjoying doing nothing at all except for gazing at the tallness of trees and flirting with a nap.

So, in solidarity with all aspiring writers, I fill pages with words any way that I can. But for pure writing and living enjoyment, I recommend a heavy, antique, mechanical typewriter.
posted by deanklear at 11:27 AM on February 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


If only it had a text editor!

Good news!
posted by kenko at 11:47 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


My great obnoxious twenty-first century ironic disaster of the weekend is that I spent forty-five minutes writing a detailed response to this post, complete with personal history, italicized interior monologues, and a great many links of historical and current import, only to have this stellar piece of writing disappear into the spinning vortex of the beachball universe because Chrome crashed whilst I was looking for a link to a detailed page on the Smith-Corona Super 5 line of manual typewriters.

When I write on a computer these days, I use Bean.

When I write to write something new, I open up a closet that I've crammed with twenty-six manual typewriters because they're no longer being manufactured and crafter assholes are rapidly cutting the keys off of all of them to hot glue shitty steampunk jewelry together to sell to idiots, select one that suits my mood, give it a quick dusting and check-up, and write. I organize my chapters by physically moving them around, then read through them to see if they work. If they don't, I rearrange and try again. I mark errors and awkward places with a red pencil, filling the margins with notes.

When I'm 90% of the way there, I take the organized, marked-up manuscript and type it into the computer for the last bit of editing. That retyping is when you catch more mistakes, typos, and grammatical flubs than you can possibly imagine. In this lazy age, we consider that make-work or wasted time, but it isn't. Every bit of time you spend reading and rereading your work is time when it can be made better.

The manual typewriter also encourages writing without live editing, which is important. You write first, then edit, which should be elementary to writers, but isn't, for whatever reason. Again, we think we're a culture of splendid multitaskers, despite all evidence to the contrary, but good work comes from good focus.

I've purchased and tried Scrivener, as the latest in a long line of attempts to use a procedural/structural word processor that started with Z-Write a long, long time ago, but I find it baroque and intrusive. It's not intrusive in the way the demon Word is, where the bloated machinery of marketing-department committee code constantly spews squiggles of green and red to tell me that my sentences are too long and that it can't understand a perfectly acceptable word, but it's not that helpful, either. You end up working with all this scaffolding when you should just be writing.

The best application ever for a writer, in my mind, is SelfControl, or maybe a pair of wire cutters. As a teaching tool, these applications have a distinct value, but I wonder how many people will be using them a few years down the line.
posted by sonascope at 12:34 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah, how much easier it is to write (or read) about the art of writing than it is to actually sit there and write something.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:43 PM on February 11, 2012


You end up working with all this scaffolding when you should just be writing.

You do, maybe. I find that the organizational tools actually help me dive in and write faster, better, more. It's certainly more efficient than getting my typewriter out of storage, finding a ribbon online because I use mine so rarely that it's always drying out, ordering one, dusting it off, clearing off my desk space to fit it comfortably, finding paper, and then writing that way--especially now that I use notes and preplanning and would have to get index cards, too. It makes more sense for me to write on the machine that I'm only for a large chunk of any given day. It's here. I'm here. No excuses.

The minimalist's sense of superiority about approach has always rattled me. Who the hell cares what kind of pen you use as long as it's got ink?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:46 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


only to have this stellar piece of writing disappear into the spinning vortex of the beachball universe because Chrome crashed

During a recent period when I had to rely on a crash-prone iPad browser for my MeFi access, I got into the habit of opening a tab set to Simplenote and writing my posts there for the auto-save.
posted by Trurl at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


sonascope, if you want to rescue Scrivener for a purpose, it is great for organizing research. If you have some dupes or machines you don't want, maybe we should trade some the next time we're in Sylvania.

Typewriter swap! I think I need to move to Portland.
posted by deanklear at 1:19 PM on February 11, 2012


deanklear—Wow, I totally blanked on your mefi name until you mentioned Sylvania and then I thought "hey, that's my cousin!" I've got a surfeit of Olympia SM9s and more S-C Super 5s and derivatives than I need (Or do I? I'm swiftly becoming a manual typewriter prepper.). Super 5 machines are easily as good as the euro makes (The parallel key action is a work of divine wonder.), and Olympia SM9s are the BMWs of the manual typewriter world. I don't think I knew you were a typewriter guy, as well. Runs in the blood, I think. Did we talk about this the year I had my Lettera 32 down there?

PhoBWanKenobi—It's just that I've spent thirty years hearing about this amazing new thing that makes writing easier and that new feature that speeds things up immensely and some other new magical method of putting notes together and all those things are fine for a while, but learning structure is better. If I'm able to be a minimalist now, it's because I lived a Walter Mitty life as a semi-sentient production drone in government subcontractorland and had to learn to write inside my head as a path to writing. It's most definitely not an inherent part of my make-up, and can be learned. It's probably okay that people don't learn it, too, though I do think a mastery of one's tools, whether it's skill sets or actual tools, is pretty essential to great writing.

After my experience with Z-Write and the sort of on-again-off-again thing that happens to small speciality developers, I have a hard time trusting that something I work hard to learn will always be available to me.
posted by sonascope at 1:41 PM on February 11, 2012


I don't care about the tools as long as they don't get in my way.

True, but I'd say that forcing me to scroll back and forth inside a 100,000 word file to check things in different chapters, and having to search for and keep open multifarious Word and .pdf files for my research, is getting "in my way." A tool starts to get in my way when I learn of one that might make my job easier. So I'm auditioning Scrivener and am very pleased.
posted by QuietDesperation at 1:43 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Charles Stross drives through here and no one says anything? Well, I was pleased… particularly because Mr. Stross and I both use Scrivener.
posted by scamper at 2:18 PM on February 11, 2012


PhoBWanKenobi—It's just that I've spent thirty years hearing about this amazing new thing that makes writing easier and that new feature that speeds things up immensely and some other new magical method of putting notes together and all those things are fine for a while, but learning structure is better.

Who is to say you can't do both? I've learned structure. I also don't feel like dicking around with a bunch of actual index cards when I have more convenient and less physically messy tools at my command.

All or nothing attitude here. Harumph.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:26 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was playing around with yWriter, and thinking about coming on here to complain that a piece of software that encourages one to limit his or her thoughts about a novel to characters, scenes, locations, and items was not the kind of software that I would find useful. But then I saw that you can edit the Languages text files, and translate the interface from that way of thinking into another, perhaps less restrictive way of thinking: my instinct would be something like voices, sequences, atmospheres, phrases. I'm too close to the end of my current project to feed it in, but maybe for my next book, I'll try yWriter.

Obviously, altering these categories could make the program useful for all kinds of writing.
posted by Handstand Devil at 2:44 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


All or nothing attitude here. Harumph.

No. It's not all or nothing. I personally find these tools gimmicky, short-lived, and best employed as a means of learning structure. Some people find them useful, though. Mileage is variable and all that, as they say.

For me, the proprietary file formats, the dependence on a tool produced by a very small producer who may or may not be updating the tool two or three years down the line, and the fact that you're working in a structure (at least in Scrivener) that turns the parts of a larger piece into little distinct units floating in a weird space that's structured like a programming environment. I use BBEdit when I'm working on code, and there's a great kinship. I can make Scrivener go fullscreen, but for some insane reason, the programmers felt like I needed a ghostly shadow of all the other junk on my computer behind that nice simple page. There's still too much junk splattered all over the place in almost any mode, and not enough ability to ditch the stuff I never, ever use. I bailed out of the "big" word processor ecosystem because all that clutter made me insane, and these tools are still a little too much like that place, like they're an evolutionary step in the right direction, but still lumbered with too many dinosaur appendages.

That said, I'm not against proving myself wrong, so I pulled up Scrivener and Pages side-by-side with my superannuated book manuscript and am likely going to spend the evening figuring out why Scrivener bothers me in spite of its obvious useful characteristics.
posted by sonascope at 3:10 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to cut yWriter down, I'm sure it's great for some people, but I was hoping this could be something I could use but no, it's way too special-purposed for its target audience, and even beyond that, when it presented radio buttons in Scene properties asking me to specify if the scene was "Action" or "Reaction," I got the feeling I should just uninstall it.

What I am looking for is less of something that will organize characters and scenes and chapters, but let me organize bits of text and such according to arbitrary criteria, keep all the snippets organized and viewable from a treeview or something like that, allow for linkable hyperlink cross-references between them, and easily concatenate different snippets together on command, stripping out hyperlinks if need be. Kind of like a cross between a mind-mapper, an organizer and a word processor. (BTW, mind-mapping programs are nearly all tremendously expensive compared to the difficulty in coding them. They're really grossly inflated in price. Fortunately Freemind is pretty good for most purposes.)

Tiddlywiki does a fair bit of what I want to do (and there is even a way to use it from iOS with a cheap app purchase), but organizing all the tiddlers and making them all easily accessible and listable isn't something I've figured out how to do yet. But I haven't found anything else that really matches with what I want. I don't suppose anyone else here knows of something?
posted by JHarris at 4:00 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I’m not a writer, and this isn’t particularly that kind of tool, but anyone’s looking for a minimal, block everything out writing thing, there’s this; http://www.ommwriter.com/
posted by bongo_x at 11:07 PM on February 11, 2012


I'm a fan of writtenkitten.net. When you hit yr word count, you get to see a new kitty. I doubt this app will show me kitties.
posted by broken wheelchair at 12:23 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alternatives.

org-mode, for EMACS, has all the features of a semantically-aware editor like Scrivener--but being meant for programmers, it doesn't really attempt to present any of it in an obvious or intuitive way. It expects you to write up an outline in a format appropriate for what you want to do with it, and it provides tags, links, searching, sorting, and formatting (via an export tool) sufficient for whatever you want to do--provided you can attain a sufficiently detailed understanding of what, exactly, you want to do.

LyX is meant primarily for nonfiction academic work. It saves all your work as LaTeX code, which is great if you need precise control over formatting, but can cause problems converting its documents to other formats, with the exception of PDF. (HTML export seems pretty reliable, too.) Unlike most other LaTeX editors, LyX gives the appearance of a word processor--you can see the format of your text as you're typing it, and you'll never need to write a lick of LaTeX if you don't feel like it (though you can). To help you structure your document, it has some pretty impressive functions for generating indexes. These aren't just navigational aids for the author; they're suitable for inclusion in textbooks, for instance.

TiddlyWiki might be an odd choice for writing things not intended for the internet, but it can certainly export to what you want if you've got the right plugin, and its primary default user interface lets you see many pages ("tiddlers") at once--very convenient if you're checking for continuity errors. The wiki nature means it's got easy links and tags, and if what you want is a virtual filecard system, you really only need links. If you want, there are plugins available to add convenience features for writers. TiddlyWikiWrite (user manual here) collects some of these.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:57 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


org-mode previously
TiddlyWiki previously
posted by LogicalDash at 6:03 AM on February 12, 2012


Just to note that I think Scrivener is overkill for fiction (unless you are writing a novel with a complex plot, perhaps). It's fantastic for working on academic projects or non-fiction, which require multiple diverse sources and the ability to track arguments over thousands of words.
posted by jokeefe at 6:54 AM on February 12, 2012


Just to note that I think Scrivener is overkill for fiction (unless you are writing a novel with a complex plot, perhaps).

I don't know. The last novel project I did (and the first one I did on Scrivener) was not particularly complex at all.

A basic screenshot of my binder. Essentially, my workflow was this: I wrote a detailed 2-page synopsis (using this formula, which makes it fairly painless). Then I broke that synopsis down into chapters. Each chapter was a separate folder, with a 1-2 sentence description of what would happen there. And then each scene inside the folder would be another subdocument. Every day before writing, I'd jot down a sentence description of what the scene I was working on would include. Scrivener facilitated this with their workflow/subdocument structure, but wasn't particularly cumbersome or overly involved, either. These divisions--scenes, chapters--are fairly intuitive ones for novel writing. Other tools, such as the split scene viewer (good for taking info from one scene and bringing it into another) and the index card markers for draft versions were useful, too. I used to have to use two versions of Word running at once side by side and just . . . remember what I'd already edited. It was awkward.

I'd tried using it in the past, but on projects already started and failed spectacularly. But if you're trying to be organized from the ground up, even on a fairly minor level, it's really useful.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:28 AM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just stumbled on Storybook, an open-source (with commercial plugins) program that looks a lot like Scrivener. Can anyone here give me a capsule review?
posted by LogicalDash at 9:03 AM on February 12, 2012


I'm enrolled in a course on Singapore literature, and one of the coolest things about the course is that the lecturer's managed to corrall a few of the more notable personalities in the scene to come and talk to us lowly undergrads about their craft. (Not their cruft, mind.) I found this particularly interesting - Robert Yeo, a local poet/ playwright/ novelist, said that he didn't use computers to write. He does use computers - he's not a Luddite - but not for writing. Instead, he uses a (fountain) pen, and hands off his handwritten pages to someone to transcribe them. Something about the tactile feel of a pen on paper, he said.

Different strokes for different folks, eh.
posted by WalterMitty at 4:31 PM on February 12, 2012


Neal Stephenson said in an interview that he drafted Anathem by hand.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:10 AM on February 13, 2012


Neal Gaiman I believe also writes his first drafts in longhand. Cormac McCarthy still uses a typewriter. Douglas Adams was famously obsessed with finding the perfect word processor software.

I would write in longhand if my hand didnt' cramp up so quickly. Back when they used to actually give grades for penmanship it was always my lowest grade on the report card. I think I'll stick with Ulysses for now.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:16 AM on February 13, 2012


deanklear: "There will be no backspace, no search, no autofill, spellcheck, thesaurus, autosave, cloud-syncing, or bold or italic. There won't be any boot up graphic or any icons. No updates will be available, and there is no upgrade for $9.99 to store more words or write more words, excepting your steady practice at the keys: writing, thinking, remembering. You will need stock up on ink ribbons and paper. Binders will have to be filled and organized; pages will have to be numbered; word counts will have to be guessed at."

The Typewriter Will Not Be Electrified...
posted by symbioid at 1:19 PM on February 13, 2012


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