September 12, 2012

RTW: Word Up

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What word processing program do you use to write your manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?

This is my totally unexciting answer:


Last November during NaNoWriMo, I purchased a copy of Scrivener (there was a discount for NaNo members) and still have yet to try it. To be honest, I'm used to Word. I wrote my entire story and have revised it using this program. The idea of learning a new program with a bunch of bells and whistles that I'll never use is not overly appealing at this point. So, for the foreseeable future I'll be sticking with Word.

As for handy tricks, I've got nothing. CTR+F is about the most useful thing I've used (especially when I decided to change a character's name in my WiP O_o). I may not have any nifty tips, but I will share something that I did in Word when I started my revisions. I made a table with four columns: 1) The chapter number, 2) a few bullets outlining the contents of the chapter (since the chapters don't have titles, this was handy for locating scenes), 3) any alterations/additions for that particular chapter, and 4) the word count for each chapter (also important because I wanted to even out chapter lengths). My brain thinks in bullet lists and tables, so it's extremely useful to me to be able to organize my thoughts this way in my word processing program. I don't imagine this is overly high-tech or earth-shattering, but it has certainly been useful to me in the revision process.

Since I don't have anything new to teach you, I'll leave you with this mid-80s gem* instead:



I may or may not be sporting the same outfit as Cameo while I'm writing this post. Kidding... Or am I? W-O-R-D Up!

* And by 'gem' I really mean 'stinker'.

30 comments:

  1. Word up!
    In theory, I love Scrivener. In practice, I like my routines. I wish formatting were a little more intuitive for Word, though--I feel like there's always some point in revisions when I copy & paste something into the document and all hell breaks loose, at least in terms of margins and indents.

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    1. I feel exactly the same way about Scrivener vs. Word. There are definitely things about Word (like you mention) that are irritating, but I think overall it's far easier to use. At least it is once you get all of your defaults set up properly. It always drives me bonkers when the spacing is all funny in Word before you set the defaults.

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    2. Ah! Word can be sooo frustrating when it comes to formatting. I've had a few times where I was tempted to delete the whole dang thing because the margins kept going berserk.

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  2. Hi! Look at all of us Word users! I thought for sure everyone would be selling Scrivener. The cutting and pasting is a mess, though. I keep lots of charts, too, but sometimes my sticky notes and poster board are just easier to adjust. Thanks for signing up for my giveaway! It's not a problem that you're in Canada -- we'll work it out if you win :)

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    1. I thought so too! I guess a lot of us tend to stick with what we know. Learning a new program just doesn't feel like something I want to do right now. I'd rather just sit down and write.

      Thanks for letting me know about the giveaway! :)

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  3. I use CTR F a lot, but I've learned not to hit the "replace all" button. It creates a huge mess! :)

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    1. Oh gosh! I can well imagine how much of a mess that would create. Especially when the word you want to replace falls in the middle of other perfectly good words. O_o

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  4. Word also has a "mark up" toolbar which can be useful if your CP also uses Word. S/he can delete things, change things, and add notes electronically, and you can see all the cross-outs etc. on the page. Sure, it's not as fun as using a red pen on a piece of paper, but it saves on postage. :)

    I too have Scrivener, but I haven't made much use of it. I know the PC version doesn't do as much as the Mac version (it was originally a Mac product), but it just hasn't captured my imagination yet. I can see how the things it does might be useful for someone who works a particular way... but I tried working that way (i.e., using index cards, and organizing my novel notes and research docs into a binder) and, frankly, it just slows me down. In other words, Scrivener solves problems I don't have at this point in my writing life. :)

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    1. Elodie and I use a system of highlighting and coloured font when we critique each other's work, and that seems to be working. My beta reader and I use Google Docs because of the ability to comment and respond to comments. Except the totally bonkers thing is that I can't get Google Docs to work in Google Chrome. I have to load it up in Internet Explorer (which I despise). How messed up is that?

      I think you've nailed the whole "Should I use Scrivener, should I not use Scrivener" issue on the head. I don't need most of the features it offers (ie. solutions to problems), so why bother? I'm very comfortable with Word and what I can do in it, so I don't see a point in switching from it. :)

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  5. Yay for Word! It's not exciting, but it does the job!

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    1. Exactly! I don't need anything fancy, and I'd rather stick with what I know works. :)

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  6. Word for me too. I do have a neat trick on how to find passive voice in your manuscript though. :D

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    1. I checked out your post, and that IS an awesome trick! I immediately opened up Word and followed your directions. We'll see how that works when I'm revising. :) Thanks again!

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  7. Haha, turns out we're not alone in using word! It just gets the job done for me and it's easy and simple to use. :)

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    1. Exactly! No point in complicating matters is there?

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  8. I'm a Word person and a fan of the FIND function as well, Jaime. (And no, I don't use a typewriter! The comment you left on my blog made me laugh though!)

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    1. I use the FIND function all the time. Elodie pointed out that I overused a particular word (I can't even remember what it was now), so I became a little fixated on CRTL+F-ing the heck out of each chapter. (Wow, that sounded foul and I didn't mean it to).

      You seriously had me with that title and pic, Katy. :)

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  9. hahahahahaha. We have the same brain. My post was first called "Check out the hook while my dj revolves it" and had "Word to your mother" at the end -- I had already used Word Up by Cameo for an RTW a few months ago. But then I found that notebook with the swan and the hummingbird and it went in a completely different direction.

    Word Girls, Unite!

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    1. Haha! Glad somebody caught what that was a reference to. :D I actually still have an MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice Back2Back CD, I'm (only sort of) ashamed to say. And that whole Word Up video totally backfired because I had the song stuck in my head for quite some time after listening to it this morning. O_o

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  10. I'm also a fellow Word-ie - hey, it's not broke, don't fix it!

    Scrivener looks pretty cool and I even went so far as to download the free trial, but after about 4 hours of trying to figure out how all the different components work and realizing I hadn't actually written a single word down, I decided to give up and go back to good old fashioned Word. I'm sure it's a great tool, I just lack the patience necessary to learn it :)

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  11. I bought Word after using Open Office for as long as I could. I love Word and it does all I need it to do :)

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  12. Looks like I'm in the minority here. I use Scrivener and it has become like my mini portable office. It was exactly what I needed to organize the ridiculous amount of notes I always have and actually got me past the planning phase which normally bogs me down and keeps me from focusing on real writing. There are a lot of features I don't know how to use yet (and frankly am a little scared to try out in case my story gets eaten) but I'm going to show my twelve year old son how to use it for homeschool research projects and then he can teach me the finer points of it :)

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  13. Word for me too. it's safe and familiar. i LIKE safe and familiar.
    =)

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  14. Nothing wrong with Word! I used it for four years and then I finally decided to give Scrivener a try. It's definitely not for everyone but I've fallen in love.

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  15. Love Scrivener and love that song-- maybe I'm showing my age, but I totally remember the first time I heard that song on the radio and I still love it, in all its 80s cheesy glory!

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  16. I've always wondered how Scrivner measured up to Word. I'm also a Word girl. It does all I need it to. :)

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  17. So both your post title and your Microsoft Word graphic made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that.

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  18. I was almost finished with my WIP when I learned about Scrivner and just couldn't find it in myself to bother. Perhaps someday I'll give it a go, but that day isn't now.

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  19. I am a Word Nerd myself, but I am dying to at least give Scrivener a try. I'll let you know how that goes. :)

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  20. I feel the same way about Scrivener...I don't have enough time to write as it is, I can't learn a new program to write.

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