Rails for Mean Spirit and some tech

So, first of all, I had a creative breakthrough yesterday! I’d been stuck on how Mean Spirit would play out, but on Sunday, I started brainstorming, putting chapter/scene ideas down on index cards.  When I was done, I sorted them in the order they had to happen.  I had about half a book’s worth of plot, none of it resolved.  Yesterday, I had inspiration as to how it should go and filled out the rest of the chapters I needed, plus a little more! Then, last night, I spent an hour writing and got just under 1,000 words down on the page, filling out the other half of Chapter 3. Now that I have rails to run on, it’s time to get this train a-rollin’.

Random information: To go along with getting things rolling, I am trotting out my Big Gun for writing: My Alphasmart Neo!

Alphasmart Neo

The right tool for the job of pounding out words… and NO FACEBOOKING!

Oh, sure, it reminds people (for some reason) of a Speak-N-Spell.  It has no backlight. It has no Internet connection. Nope, not even email.  It’s a retro piece of technology that looks like a refugee from the 80s, but has a USB port.  It was a gift I gave to myself after finishing my first NaNoWriMo novel.  It’s not a laptop.  It’s a dedicated word processor.  The keyboard is full sized and the keys feel nice and springy to the touch.  My fingers can fly over them, and without Facebook or IM or email to distract me, I can really focus on getting my ideas out.  Plus, the lack of features means it can run for HUNDREDS of hours on 3 AA batteries.  So, no need to find an outlet or a WiFi hotspot, I just need a flat surface and some light and away I go.

Just in case you’re wondering, this is not an infomercial.  I have no affiliation with Alphasmart, I just love gadgets, and any gadget that helps me shed distractions is a good one.

Once I have a chapter written, I hook it up with a USB cable to my Mac Mini at home and upload the raw text file. Then, I copy and paste that into a Word document, format and proofread it, and then I save it to Dropbox for safety’s sake.  Dropbox keeps old versions of the same file around, so if I mess up and overwrite the wrong file (which has happened), I can revert.  Dropbox is also available anywhere, since it’s a “cloud” service.  If I’m feeling really nervous, I’ll make yet another copy in Google Docs, which also does versioning.

I have a little HP Mini netbook (running Ubuntu Linux) that I love very much too, but it’s got a small keyboard and of course, distractions from the Internet.  Sometimes, I’ll compose at a desktop computer, but I like to get away to write… either at my basement bar or an away mission to a coffee shop or the brewpub to shake things up a bit.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling for today. I hope this peek into how I write has been interesting!

About ecgarrison

Author. Brewer. Gamer. Geek. Trans.
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