This Easter weekend I have taken myself off to a hotel again to concentrate on finishing my novel about the KGB headquarters in Riga. Originally, I planned to cart my widescreen Asus laptop, charger, USB extension hub and mouse with me as usual but balked at the weight of my laptop. Much as I love working on my laptop, I hate dragging it around. I already have the manuscript backed up on my external drive, so that goes everywhere with me, and have emailed it to myself. The thing is, I need a good way of writing and editing on my iPad mini which is dinky and lightweight.
I have tried working in Pages but the App does not recognise the type font I have chosen which causes formatting and downloading issues. In addition, the native formatting of Pages does not sit well with the way I have formatted the manuscript in a Word. I set up my layout and forest before I do anything else do I am ready to convert when the manuscript is done. I need to retain that formatting.
With this in mind, I have downloaded DocsToGo and linked it to my iCloud account. This App allies me to upload Microsoft-made files and work on them as I would on my laptop. So far, things are looking promising. I downloaded the App, paid for the I loud upgrade and emailed my manuscript to my iCloud email address. From the email, I downloaded the manuscript and then sent it to DocsToGo. I opened the document and it looks pretty much like it did on my laptop. So, I am travelling to Lille with my iPad and a lighter bag.
An other useful App for the iPad is Storyist. This is similar to a Scrivener, a program for Macs and PCs, which allows the writer to write and plan books then bring everything together at the end. Storyist allows you to create index cards, separate chapters and make notes in one package. It is not as useful as Scrivener but fills the gap until an iPad version of Scrivener is available.
It is useful to have the samples as illustrated above, if you are a novice writer or would like to have a template. I have used Storyist and Scrivener to write my shorter books but have gone back to a whiteboard, post it notes and Word for the longer ones. It is just the way I work.
Several of my writing space comrades use journals or creative writing guides to get ideas flowing and practive writing techniques. If the wish to ditch the paper there is an App which combines journal writing and creative writing. Now, I am not a fan of the Virginia Woolf style free writing activities, and I did give up going to an otherwise excellent writing course because we had to free write, but they are popular among the creative writing fraternity. The following App comes recommend by http://www.theprooffairy.com as a useful bit of software and as it is not expensive and has a journal function am going to download it. The Roller Journal could be the think to kick off ideas and for general journaling. It is available on the App Store.
For those who just want to type cleanly, I recommend the Hanx Writer. This is a basic word processor type App which mimics the sound of an old fashioned typewriter. It is great fun to play with an is ideal foe a basic text.
Since I have managed to disable my keyboard, I am learning to type slowly using the on screen keyboard. I could be lucky and having to think more often about where the letters are I might produce better text.