Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Technology and Writers

Finally got my cute little eeePC and I'm using it right now to write this blog.  It is going to take some getting used to, especially the keyboard.  While the keyboard is 95% of the size of a normal keyboard, it feels a little smaller :-).  But then, I don't have very slender, small, lady-like hands, either. 

If I were to travel back in time, based upon my hands and feet, there would be no doubt that I was--or am--a peasant.

That notwithstanding, I can always get an external keyboard if this one drives me crazy.  I think I can get used to it, though.  Besides that, I have had a few glitches.  Nothing the eeePC wikis couldn't walk me through--but I did lose my file manager icon at one point and the networking goes in and out.  Probably need to update more of the software.

I did manage, though, to connect to my big guy PC and access my manuscripts, so I can edit those babies from anywhere in the house.  (I bought a wireless access point at the same time as the eeePC so I can get to the internet and any PC in my house at any time.  Like I really need to waste more time on the Internet and messing with computers.)

But the big plus is that I now have a device to use when editing my manuscripts on travel!  And this little bugger will even fit in my purse (my big purse that looks strangely like a diaper bag--but isn't as I don't have any children unless you count all the animals and my husband.)  Or I can even take it to our cottage.  I no longer have an excuse to be a slacker.  Boohoo.

And I remember my first manuscript--written on an old manual Smith-Corona typewriter.  With carbon paper (to make a duplicate).  Never did sell that one, or the one after it, but it sure made me feel it was serious business when I typed it out because I didn't want to have to go back with a lot of corrections.

I've gotten really lazy lately knowing that I can go back and edit any number of times with very little effort, now.

And speaking of technology and writers--I've yet again been perusing the various writery tools out there.  I'm still most enamored of my little cheapo Anthemion Storylines and Writer's Cafe.  They let you brain storm and even add clip art and pictures with Writer's Cafe, and  then get down to business actually working out the storyline itself with the Storylines piece.  I just wish the two were more tightly integrated so that junk you put into Writer's Cafe could be fed into Storylines.

I have to say, though, after using nearly every product out there for writers, there is nothing any of these packages do that can't be done in your wordprocessor or spreadsheet.  With one notable exception.  They all make you painfully aware of the ELEMENTS of a story and the progression of scene and sequel, building tension, etc.  They make you think out why you want to include a scene, what you're going to accomplish with it, and hopefully make you get rid of anything that doesn't build the story.

Once you learn that process though, well, all the software in the world isn't going to make your job easier.  Because you still have to write the story and edit it.

But I believe I will stick with my Anthemion software-even if it doesn't run on my eeePC.

And guess what my first project will be?  I want to write yet another short story (I'm having fun with them) but this time it will be a murder mystery.  :-) 

Good night and pleasant dreams!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind remarks about Writer's Cafe!

Writer's Cafe already runs on the Eee PC 701 4G series and we are working on compatibility with the more recent models. If you look at the download page at, under the Linux download section, you'll see a link to instructions for installing on the Eee PC. We would be interested to know if it runs on your Eee PC - Asus are coming out with a lot of variations!

Writer's Cafe 2 which is out shortly will be even more tailored to the Eee PC; there's a beta available at and we hope to release officially this month.

Hope this helps! We at Anthemion think the Eee PC is great too.

best wishes
Harriet Smart

Amy said...

Thank you for the information--I will definitely look into getting the Writer's Cafe (Anthemion StoryLines, etc) on my eeePC as it will help me out since my outlines are done through it.

Thanks for the information! I never expected it to be so easy :-).

Anonymous said...

I currently use an EEEPC 900 and I run Storylines on it

It is extremely stable on the EEEPC... and I love my EEEPC... put in bag and go... that I love.

It allows me to go to the coffee shop and not worry too much about the far more expensive MacBook, which is my primary computer. The Debian version for the software has yet to give me any issues.

Now if could update open office to at least Oo2.4.4