With much enthusiasm – and no shame – I contribute to the Weekly Photo Challenge using my worst photos ever. This week’s topic is companions, and despite the lack of viable photos I have to do a shout-out to my beloved writing companion, my iPad. I recently wrote my novel Scar Jewelry on my iPad, and now am close to finishing a first draft of my fantasy detective novel Frames.
With my iPad I write on my patio on a balmy sunny night. With my iPad I carry my words and ideas around just about all the time, keeping them in the glove compartment in case I get a spare moment to write. And with my iPad I can slip over to play a few games and think things through subconsciously when my writing gets stuck.
Below are my writing apps in action. I wasn’t sure that screen shots should count as photos so I snapped these photos with my phone. Hence the unforgettable quality.
Early version of my latest novel, as planned out using Keynote’s presentation slides instead of notecards.
I organize and reorganize elements in a scene using the mind-map app Poppplet.
The writing itself I do with Pages.
Warning: I really geek out during this post! But I supply these details in case they help another writer who wants to leave notecards behind.
When I first started writing, each novel would have an inches-thick stack of notecards. I taped cards to a wall and removed or X’ed them as the writing advanced. The advantage of notecards, of course, is that it is so much easier to add, reorder, and scrap when a single idea exists on a single page.
Even though I was an early adopter of computers for every other stage of writing, for a long time I still needed the heft and tangibility of the note cards for planning.
I wanted to switch to digital planning long before I actually did so. I tried a number of apps and softwares designed for organizing ideas (mind maps and stickies and To Do list kinds of things). They didn’t work for me.
Then I tried presentation software, and that has allowed me to replace notecards with slides. Nowadays, I plan my novels on Keynote on my iPad… unless I need to do wholesale reorganizing. When that happens, I convert the file to Powerpoint and work on my computer, because if I need to move a lot of stuff around, I want a mouse and Microsoft’s “light table” features (where all the slides can be seen at one time) are more versatile than Keynote’s. I adore my iPad but editing on an iPad induces pain.
P.S. To plot the bigger, broader, arcs and trends of a novel, I am fond of a software called Popplet, which lets me put ideas in small color coded boxes, move them around, and connect them.