Word Processors for WritersWriter word processing
Good word processing for writers should do 3 things really well
Most of my daily life I have spent in a word processing program of one kind or another for over 20 years. This wealth of knowledge has given me some ideas about what an excellent word processing tool for writers is. Now, at least for this author.
But before I discuss my idea of an optimal word processing, it might help to have a little bit of time. I' m 40 years old enough to use a typing machine before I've ever used a word-processer. At the time when I used a typing machine, at the age of 8 or 9 or 10 years, it was for no other reason than self-entertainment.
My mother's electrical typing device, a blue Smith Corona, I think, and I remember the humming and clattering of the keys and the car-reverse bells. Better still, I remember using my grandfather's Royal Quiet De Luxe typing device. As a teenager I even succeeded in writing a few tales on this typing maschine.
Of course there is a romantic in the ease of typing like the Royal, but in reality I wouldn't want to type on a typing machine today, considering how much I am typing every single pen. Text processing programs make it so much simpler. I first used Apple Works.
We moved to an IBM computer after Apple Works and I began a long time with WordPerfect. I' ve used WordPerfect up to WordPerfect5. and in fact, when I began my studies in autumn 1990, I still used WordPerfect to write my own paperwork and note. Some time in 1992 I changed from WordPerfect to Microsoft Word 5.
5, which for a long, long period of incessant use. In fact, I still think it's the best word processing program Microsoft has ever done. Finally, both my schooling and work made me choose Word for Windows and its various offspring and I began my frustrations with word processing programs. Today I think that word processors like Microsoft Word are practically useless for a novelist like me.
I' m using Scrivener on my Mac for my literature. Good word processing for authors should really do 3 things well: In other words, when I am typing, I shouldn't have to be worried about typefaces and text size and formats and all the other silliness. It is my profession as a novelist to be able to write.
This is precisely why there is a "standard script format". When I' m done, I want to be able to "compile" the documents so that what I have written is translated into the default script size by default. That' s exactly what Scrivener does, and that's one of the things I like it.
Whatever my documents look like on the monitor, they will still appear in the default script size when I'm done. VYSIWYG was a great concept, but I quickly learnt that it was not my task to design the work. It is my task to create the file and the WYSIWYG-interface.
I want a full text editor with a full text display without a tool bar and a large text that is clearly arranged on my monitor. I' d like a large typeface for ease of read on my monitor, but the definitive display (the manuscript) should not be dependent on this typeface.
Scrivener as well as iaWriter meet these requirements. This is what my Scrivener interface looks like, in full size. Note that this is the whole display on my 27? iMac: So here's the same text, fullscreen on my 27 iMac in iaWriter (which I usually use for articles): After all, here is the same text in Microsoft Word 2011, full image on my 27? iMac:
The main discrepancy between Scrivener and Microsoft Word is of course that not all diversions are removed. What I see on my computer monitor is exactly how the documents will look on your computer sheet, while Scrivener compiles my documents, although they look on your computer monitor, into a default script size, which saves me a great deal of headaches.
Today, Microsoft Word does much more than just word processor, as you can see from the tens of ribbon toolbars you can see when you work with the utility. I' m looking for something easy, light and distraction-free. It doesn't even have a preferences display, and that's by theme.
While Scrivener is a bit more complicated, unlike Word, all functions in Scrivener are designed to simplify the write operation. For example, all word processors I use keep an eye on the number of words. Simultaneously, these programs are not burdened with functions that I will never use and that initially have a dubious value in a word processing program.
My own personal experiences show that writers have a tendency to stick to the way they present their documents rather than to work on the contents. Text processing programs like Word promote this behaviour. Implementing a utility that divides the production of contents (the interface) from the level of presentations can save you an hour, because you are not diverted by the way manuscripts are formatted.
After all, basic utilities and functions that accelerate the typing processwithout getting in your way or overtaxing you are what makes word processing programs really write-friendly.