On technology and writing

I’ve recently changed computers, and I’ve had to reinstall quite a lot of programmes, which made me think about what I actually use. So I thought you guys might appreciate a quick run-down of what I use to write…

Laptop-wise, I’ve currently got a Lenovo ThinkPad T420 (older make & model because I like the keyboards). I was using an HP, but I think my hatred of that stemmed from Windows 8…*swears profusely at it* and it was also very laggy. Before the HP, I had a Toshiba (which I loved until it overheated as that model tended to do) and then a Lenovo…so back to my favourites, I guess!

I write in Word. I prefer MS Office, mostly because I’m used to the formatting options. However, I highly recommend OpenOffice – I really appreciate the fact that the files transfer between the two so easily, although it does make a mess of my formatting occasionally. I know LibreOffice also comes recommended, although I’ve never used it myself.

When it comes to actually writing, I use the headings and document map in Word to plot things out, and that seems to work. I don’t use Scriviner, although I know it comes highly recommended by many of my writing friends. I think I’m lucky as I have shorter books, so I don’t have as much to remember – I can imagine that chapter- and scene-plotting in a 150,000 word book would be a little different to my 30,000 word ones!

When I’m out and about, I tend to use Google Drive as I have my email on there anyway, so it means I can write on the go without having to install anything. I like that it’s browser-based, although I admit that I am careful about what I write on it…Google does have a nasty habit of snooping. I also have to be careful what I work on as I then have to remember to transfer it – that’s something I need to sort out!

A good timeline software is Aeon Timeline – again, I don’t use it, but many friends do. I personally have an Excel spreadsheet with names, note and scribbles on timelines and characters. On a slight detour, I was recently asked by @O_T_Curtis for some character sheets just so he could use them as filler. My response was a not-very-helpful “Uh…I don’t use them :-/” as most of my characters are in my head! My spreadsheets have name, trade and rank if needed, place of origin and any notes I need (usually “DEAD”). Beyond that, I know who they all are. However, I did manage to scribble him some notes and send ’em across, so I think that helped. What can I say, I’m a weird writer…

Back to writing! In web news, this blog is a WordPress one with a custom theme, and is hosted by the awesome Sirnet, who also helps fix things when I break my theme (which happens far more than I want to admit for a former web designer).

Beyond that, I don’t use a lot of other tools. Twitter (@writingandcoe) is my writer’s communicator and I use Facebook to keep in touch with my publisher, Grimbold Books. I do sporadically use AuthorRise for promo stuff but I haven’t found it very useful, mostly because it refuses to recognise Green Sky & Sparks and because it isn’t a very user-friendly site for actually doing things on. I’m also on the SFW Forums as part of the Swindon FreeWriters.

And that’s it!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.