What writing medium do you use?

My MacBook Pro is reaching old age (it's now got a USB mouse as the mousepad has developed Alzheimers); I will have to find a worthy replacement. What do you use to write with/on? Whether it's paper/pen (if you have a favourite) or a modern word processing laptop, and if you have any recommendations, please put them here!

Comments

  • macbook air, mac desktop, iPad, paper and pencil and sometimes paper and pen. 
  • Desktop.
  • I use a laptop because it's faster than copying up handwritten text later, BUT a writer I know says that the only real medium is the writer him/herself.

    Most important is process. Once you've developed an effective routine and a method, it really makes no difference how you get the words down.
  • GeraldQ said:

    Most important is process. Once you've developed an effective routine and a method, it really makes no difference how you get the words down.
    Thanks GeraldQ. By effective routine and method, I'm assuming you mean a daily routine and how you fill that routine time; research, sketching out, detailing, etc? 
  • I write drafts for stories and articles on the computer. I then make a copy and edit the copy on the computer. That way it is easier to move chunks of text around and by always working from a copy the original is not lost. However, my plans and notes and mind maps are always paper and pencil jobs and poetry is always written longhand on any scrap of paper that comes to hand.
  • I do my best stuff on the Big Computer. There is a very large screen which shows two A4 sheets side by side, which makes spacing/formatting issues so easy to spot. I love having space in the background for Googling or for other documents.

    I bought a mini laptop once for writing on the move, but it felt so claustrophobic.

    Of course, if an idea springs to mind when I am out, I'll jot it down on anything... 

    (not yet succumbed to a tattoo)
  • Cuppajoe

    For me the process looks something like this: 1) Have idea. 2) Research to flesh out idea. 3) Develop idea into possible story structures – scenes, mid-point etc. 4) Develop story structures into rough plot. 5) Develop rough plot into chapter-by-chapter plan that could stretch to 20 pages with research notes added. 6) Start writing, minimum 1000 words a day, until the book is finished.

    Due to the detailed planning process, one draft is enough. It means that I know every day what I need to write in terms of scenes – no time wasted. Steps 1-5 are very difficult, but less difficult than trying to do them at the same time as the writing.

    My experience is that many writers approach steps 1-5 in a haphazard manner (if at all) that often results in multiple drafts and then an unfinished or unreadable MS. I used to teach an MA in Creative Writing and all of my writers omitted an effective planning stage, preferring to just "wing it". None wrote a publishable novel.
  • GeraldQ said:
    Cuppajoe

    For me the process looks something like this: 1) Have idea. 2) Research to flesh out idea. 3) Develop idea into possible story structures – scenes, mid-point etc. 4) Develop story structures into rough plot. 5) Develop rough plot into chapter-by-chapter plan that could stretch to 20 pages with research notes added. 6) Start writing, minimum 1000 words a day, until the book is finished.


    My experience is that many writers approach steps 1-5 in a haphazard manner (if at all) that often results in multiple drafts and then an unfinished or unreadable MS. 
    GeraldQ, Thanks for that. Funny how my process mirrors yours, although I never set out to make that my process; it just seems to have happened because to me that seemed to e the most logical way to go about writing a book/story/novel etc. Poems have a different process for me, and sometimes I find it difficult to switch between the two, which is bad, but sometimes one process informs the other, which is good. Swings and roundabouts, hey?
  • Sound advice there, GeraldQ.
  • HI Gerald


    I'm a but haphazard I have to say, and do end up with numerous drafts - but more like draft 1, redraft produces draft 2, then edit produces draft 3 then I go for a critique which results in draft 4, then probably a few more versions until I get to the final draft -probably number 8 or 9 which invariably looks very little like the one I started with. I quite like this as it allows me a lot of freedom to change things as I go and I don't worry too much as long as I feel it's getting better.

    I produced a plot structure for my latest manuscript which I managed to keep to for about a week before I dropped it as I found it creatively stifling as I was trying to write within a framework rather than let the characters do 'their own thing' to a point.

    I guess we're all different, oh and I use a laptop  but when editing I print out the manuscript as it's easier to see things that way.

  • Datco

    I think the key is to plot loosely so that the novel has a structure that will work whatever the characters do later. I always change things as I write, but I don't get lost or have to start again.

    The problem with multiple drafts is that a novel can lose its consistency or focus across drafts. Pace varies. Story may suffer. Often, vestiges of previous drafts linger. It can be easy to spot a novel that's been through multiple drafts.

    Ultimately, the best process is the one that works. Multiple drafts are fine if you have unlimited time. My experience is that I need to be efficient to produce stuff to deadline while working on multiple projects at the same time.

    I recall reading that Vladimir Nabokov had such a sound sense of structure that he could write his novels out of order and just shuffle scenes later. I think that's a great way to write.
  • I use a Macbook and OpenOffice.

    I want to write as soon as I switch on, not wait for virus protection and updates and stuff.

    GeraldQ said:

    Ultimately, the best process is the one that works.
    Absolutely. 
  • I use a Macbook and OpenOffice.

    I want to write as soon as I switch on, not wait for virus protection and updates and stuff.

    Do you have to wait for virus protection etc on a PC? I had no idea. 
  • Last one I had you did – but that was some time ago. Glad to know it's no longer a problem.

    The updates thing is still an issue with Windows though, I believe? I've seen comments saying people had to stop writing because an update had started.
  • With Windows there is usually a message giving advance warning of around ten minutes that an update is imminent with an option to update later. It then does the update next time you shut down. Obviously makes sense to get updates as available but no need to stop mid flow as it were.
  • I write on the PC and do the first edit on it, then print out the draft and mark up changes on the hard copy. I then type up the changes and do the final edit and spell check on the PC.
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