Monday, February 21, 2011

21st century revisions

After an interesting and thought provoking afternoon surrounded by sci-fi writers at the literary science fiction convention, Boskone, then a night of getting hammered w/ friends, I had intended to print a moderately fat manuscript and hack it to shit with a red pen while nursing a hangover. There were problems.

I currently don't own a printer. I write on a borrowed netbook that gets uncomfortably warm under my palms. My financial situation doesn't allow me to replace these things, currently. So, I rely the resources of other institutions as crutches for my printing needs. I took a trip to my alma mater to molest the printers in the computer lab, only to find that the lab had been secured with a new student only user name/pass system. I went to Kinko's and spent a dollar (.20 cent/minute) to find that it would cost me $15+ to print a 31 page document of black and white text. I wouldn't pay it. I ejected my card and left empty-handed, feeling dejected. The library was closed and I'm a pretty, 'by-the-books' guy when it comes to my office and not stealing from the people who pay me.

So, that has left me feeling that revision should, maybe, no longer be done on paper. $15?! Fuck me. That's some repugnant shit. I could go back and edit the thing in Google Docs or any number of word processors, but a tiny netbook screen doesn't allow you to look at a lot at once. Kind of like trying to do work on a cramped, cluttered desk, constantly having to move things around to complete a task. Combined w/ a small keyboard, it's a formula for an editing schlog.

I was envisioning how great it would be to own an iPad with a nice writing/revision app. Something I could take a stylus to, highlight sentences and annotate them, cross out paragraphs and rearrange words, all while being a able to look over a complete page as I sat on my couch. A relatively simple, red penning. After a quick search around the internet, no app of this sort seems to exist, or at least performs any of these functions well. I'm not completely sold on an iPad in many respects (shit, I need a new laptop first), but if something like this existed it would push me a lot closer to buying one.

How are people currently revising their writing in the 21st century?

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