Tools of the Trade

So thoughts on what you use to make your stories.  I’m curious as to how many of you outline your story before you begin.   Some people swear that’s the way to best make a story flow and get through it quickly.  I was on Amazon yesterday and noticed a book promoting typing around 5,000 to 10,000 words a day.   I think that’s just insane.  I currently creative type at around 35 to 40 words per minute.  Which means 1,000 words generally happen in about an hour or less.  If I’m really flying I can get 1,000 words in a half hour, but that’s rare.  I can’t imagine sitting down for 10 hours a day to write a story.   I think your abilities to weave a tale would be frazzled to bits at the end.   Thoughts?

So outlines are clearly something some people use.   I myself generally just keep writing.  Thinking and guiding the story along as I go.  I think of it as driving a car between the lines of a highway and just trying to keep it going in the direction I need it to.  Sometimes I take a detour but for the most part I keep the general goal in sight as best I can.  We’ll find out after I release the first project if that’s a method that works or not.  Stephen didn’t speak much on the outlining of your story as a requirement.   Its entirely possible that he’s just wicked amazing at story telling and doesn’t need something like that.

As for other tools.  I have a Samsung Galaxy Note for writing down whatever creative ideas pop up while I’m out and about.   I know other famous writers have moleskin notebooks tucked in their pockets.  I figure my phone can be both right?  I generally try and think of an idea or two a week, but am unsure if this is wise.   I find that staying focused on the current project is harder when there are other things bouncing around up there.  I’ve also used a bunch of physical or software oriented tools.   Here are my experiences so far.

Google Docs

I tried writing my first story on this and found it to be pretty good defense against your computer freezing up and losing hours of work.  It was really convenient too.   I could share the document with others and have them read the additions and give me a bit of feedback.  I’d still be using it today if it was able to keep up.  Turned out that after around 12,000 words, the browser based file couldn’t keep up with my typing.   It wasn’t that I was screaming fast with my abilities.  Rather, I believe the chars were showing up in large chunks after typing a bunch of them.  Sometimes I’d be able to get an entire line of text in before seeing it appear on the page.   I’m a good typist, but I couldn’t deal with not being able to see my documents appear on the screen for up to 20 second delays.   I can only imagine the heart attack I’d cause the software if I decided to put “The Pass” on it.   I wouldn’t recommend this software for your book writing needs unless you focused mostly on short stories 10,000 words or less.


Microsoft Word

I dislike the evil empire as much as anyone else.  But after Google let me down I had to go back to using MS Word for my typing needs.  It was already installed and you spend enough on the software in the first place you might as well go with it.   So far is able to keep up with my typing, though this is not really a surprise.  Being computer based software its able to utilize the higher clock speeds of your local processor and isn’t confined by any buffer problems you’d find on browser based interfaces.  I was worried about losing the file or having it become corrupt and still enjoyed that safety you felt while using Google Docs for my writing needs.   Which led to me using the next tool.


Google Drive

I love this simple solution.  Now if my computer crashes while using Word I’m still at a loss.  With Drive though, if you save the file its automatically synced up with your Google account and to any other computers you have Google Drive installed on.   So to have my file automatically saved and synced with 2 other computers after saving is a really security blanket for me.   Drive also keeps track of past versions of the file in case you have to restore to an earlier version.  I’m glad I have that feature, though I doubt I’ll use it.


Those are all the software programs I use in my own writing.   Do you guys have others I haven’t listed?   I know there are other word processors.  I’d like to try Open Office sometime, but haven’t really gotten around to it, nor do I think I’ll be doing so in the near future.   I suppose I’m happy with my current set up, so there isn’t any real reason to change.   I’d like to hear suggestions though so feel free.  Tomorrow I can talk about my nifty Das Keyboard.  Perhaps even start another short fiction series.