Why Not to Use Pen And Paper to Write

Last fall, I dedicated a single subject spiral bound notebook to my flash fiction.

It is presently lost. I imagine it will turn up somewhere. Probably months from now, when I remember nothing about the half-finished flash fiction in it.

That’s the way it always happens. I don’t know how many notebooks I’ve lost track of. Oh, they usually turn up again, but by the time I find it again, I’ve lost hope and started another notebook for fiction. I’ve had marble notebooks, spiral notebooks, those little folders that you can turn into notebooks by slipping loose leaf paper into fasteners/prongs/whatever the are called.

I’ve lost lots. I don’t even know how many. IMO, this is the single best argument for not writing with pen/paper.

(Aside from the fact I dislike transcribing everything to a word file. Feels like duplicate work.)

I’ve never lost a flash drive or any other file on my computer. Even if I forget where it’s saved – never happened! – a computer search is easier than searching every nook and cranny in the house.

But sometimes you just need a pen in your hand, you know? Sometimes it works better than a keyboard. I wish that wasn’t so. I am just grateful I am not often inspired to write with pen and paper.

But if I don’t find the damn notebook soon, I am never getting a notebook for fiction ever again. Never!!!!

On Writing Software

I don’t use writing software. I will admit to using OneNote to keep track of  character profiles, research, and world building items –  notes on magical rules, nobility, geography and so on. When writing a fantasy novel, I would use a separate notebook to keep track of things. It seemed easier to use OneNote. I don’t have a laptop and even though OneNote is designed for the tablet PC, it works just fine on my desktop computer. Also, the files don’t get lost. My notebook migrates frequently around the house (I swear, the things have legs!). So I end up using a different notebook.  Than I end up confusing and frustrating myself when I need to back and look up a detail. A computer file is better all around and I don’t have the formatting issues I had with word when I tried to use that to write world building type notes.

I don’t use OneNote for the actual writing. I suppose I could, but writing on word is just better (it has much prettier word processing functions).

I have discovered other people use purpose built writing software to write stories. Novels and screenplays. Who know? I certainly didn’t!

There are scrivener, dramatica pro, storybook, final draft and I don’t know how many others. Scrivener appears to be very popular, but it is also only for macs. It also seems to be expensive. Such writing software is supposed to help with story structure. I am going to try out storybook. Maybe it will help with the novel in progress.

Why storybook? Because it is open source, it works with windows and it is for novels. Quite a few pieces of writing software are mac only or are designed for screenplays and are expensive to boot. But also because I like what the website says about different views – seeing scenes chronically, a view for seeing which scene is in which chapter (thinking I could use this for planning), and a book view. They have a thing for keeping track of plot lines (each line is colored differently) and time lines. I also like what it says about chapters and scenes and all. They seem flexible enough that can I move scenes here and there. I do that anyway in word (and get mightily irritated when I want to switch scenes around and run into word issues).  I really like the chart thing. It is supposed to show which characters are where and when and a lot more. Anyway, I am going to try it out. Hopefully it will work.