Sunday, February 25, 2007

Script - Useful gadgets for writers

Wired posted a list of their Top Gadgets for writers. Here are the ones relevant to me:

Digital Recorder

Don't waste time fiddling with your music player or laptop: the specialized controls and user interface of a good digital recorder are indispensable, and much better than those on devices whose focus lies elsewhere. Some DAPs are better than others—the iPod is capable enough—but you'll miss the simple, one-click operation of a smaller device with an integrated mic.

Any of the name brands will do, but make sure it offers a USB port, plug 'n' play hookup to your computer (It should appear as a portable drive when plugged in) and that the recordings are saved in a sensible format (such as WAV, WMA or MP3).

Great for capturing brainstorming sessions, Actual Plays, and those moments when the perfect lines for the scene leap out at me. I'm investigating this.


A decent pen

It's not just those of us less enamored of technology who need a decent scribbler: we all write the old-fashioned way, all the time, regardless of our affinity for the latest half-cooked tech toys. The constant scribe might want to try the ergonomic Yoropen, especially if cramp and repetitive strain are issues. And there's always the Fisher Space Pen for writers who write upside-down.

The rest of us have the Parker Jotter, which, when used with a gel-ink refill, is unbeatable. As much as I love classic fountains like my Parker 51, for everyday use, the workaday jotter topples any legend.

Okay, have to admit I haven't explored the world of pen-geekdom, but the Yoropen and the Parker Jotter sound cool.

Better writing software

The twin gorillas of word processing, Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org Writer, impose a writing experience often counter to the needs of people who actually write, as opposed to people who generate business correspondence. There are many alternatives targeted at prose-crafters, most of them dreadful (more on those in a moment) but the two standouts are Scrivener for Mac OS X and RoughDraft for Windows, simple, straightforward, laser-guided writing software.

Scrivener has more features and eye candy, and carries a $35 price tag. RoughDraft is simpler and free of charge.

I shall check out RoughDraft immediately.


Unlimited public transport access

Exploration is about the most useful activity a writer can indulge in.


Didn't I already post about this? Public transport rocks for getting the writing down on paper, but this article also points out that a trip can also provide you with new sights and new material.
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