#OpenBook – My preferred method of writing



What is your preferred method of writing? (by hand, on a computer, dictate it?)

This is a very easy question for me. My whole writing process is computerised. I write using both my laptops, one for writing and one for research and I often use my big screen too. At the moment I am using it to display the developmental comments I received on my new obsession WIP, A Ghost and his Gold.

I create notes on my plot outline in excel together with details of each character, including their full name, basic looks and sex. I then consider their role in the story and assign their charactarisation i.e. What kind of a person are they? Do they play by the rules of society or do they try to make their own rules? Are they idealistic, romantic, a reader, a dreamer? What characteristics do I need to assign them to make them work in their role i.e. in Through the Nethergate, Father Merton needed to be a bit superstitious and come from a background that accepted the idea of ghosts and demons. Without these characteristics, his character wouldn’t have performed convincingly in his role in the story. In A Ghost and his Gold, the main character, Pieter, is a reader and a bit of an academic. This is a bit unusual among his peers and he has been mocked for it in the past, but it is necessary for him to have an ability to question the circumstances of the war, to expect a negative outcome and to be able to feel great remorse and self depreciation for perceived wrong decisions. For me, the characterisation of my characters if vital so that I can get the emotion and description of situations and circumstances in the story correct.

I could probably create these tables by hand, but I haven’t really grown up in a “by hand” world. My whole working life has involved excel, word and power point so writing by hand doesn’t come naturally to me. Anyhow, my computer reliant generation can’t spell for toffee sticks and I am completely dependent on spell check.

I write in word because I am very proficient in that programme and it enables me to mark up changes, indicate movements of text and make notes and comments. These are for my own benefit and, sometimes, for the benefit of my editor.

I create my adverts in power point using my own photographs, which I change using a design programme. I then insert the book cover and a quote from the story into the advert. Once it is complete, I covert it to a jpeg and it is ready to go.

I use a designer to create my book covers so I don’t have a computer programme for those.

What are other blog-hoppers’ preferred writing methods?  Click on the blue button below to find out, or simply add a comment or even your own blog post.

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.
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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Here is another of my Through the Nethergate advert creations:

53 thoughts on “#OpenBook – My preferred method of writing

  1. YOu work way too hard. I sit down, I say I need a bank robbery caper with a little romantic tension. The characters sit on my shoulder and start talking. Some days I can’t keep up.
    However, and I stress this, I am not a shill. But if anyone is two stepping your writing process across even Microsoft screens and programs you owe it to yourself to try Scrivener. Everything you need, one program. No matter if you’re a visual organizer or want your data in spreadsheet or postit notes. Plus your WIP is organized, by scene and chapter, visible at all times (if you desire). Check that. Scene and chapter. It can’t be any easier to find holes. Word count by scene, between scenes, from point A to point C.. It’s amazing. I can’t write the old way except to sketch in Word and paste it into Scriv. Just like I can’t work without at least two monitors. That was not an ad, you asked. It’s free to try and cheap to own. And I’m an old dog, but Scriv was my one new trick. Because I can chase bunnies and Scriv stops that by making it obvious.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am comfortable with paper, but after so many years of traveling, I need my stuff in the cloud so I can access it from anywhere on whatever device I happen to have. If I do put notes on paper, I quickly put them in lists. I write in Word but I use Trello to organize.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Trello is a pretty cool service. I use the free version, but it has enough features to make it very useful. I’ve explained it on my blog. You can search for it and find that post if you like. But there are plenty of videos on their website.


  3. I love to see how you organize your work, Robbie.
    I grew up in paper and pencil or pen. My job in the last ten years before retirement required me to be proficient in Excel, Access, Word, and PowerPoint. When I travel, I write on the Note app. on my phone or iPad and share with my email so I could retrieve them and put it in Word.
    I use Excel to organize my WIP.
    I used to be very good in spelling but now I got lazy by using computer for too long and rely on the spell check.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you, P.J. I learned from my daughter to swipe the spelling, just use my finger touch lightly on the letters and wipe in the direction of the spelling. As long as the direction is okay, it has auto correct to give me the right words. If I swipe the wrong letter, just delete and do it again.
        I don’t “type” the text or note any more!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, Robbie. When I was teaching, I had spelling tests for the students (for 15 years), and taught the spelling rules. It helped me with my spelling also. But I worked in the district office for 10 years and retired for 9 years. Too long from the spelling bees!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to always have a paper writing journal and I loved it but I finally gave in a few years ago and went electronic. It’s just so much easier. Maybe one of these days when life slows down I will have a paper journal again. 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Robbie, very interesting to learn your writing processes. You are very passionate. I am not an author, though I secretly wish I was. I am not a writer, never thought about it, only after I started to blog did it become a thought.
    I write both ways, that is pen and paper, or straight on the computer, and spelling well typos galore. I don’t write fiction, and I am learning how clever those that write fiction are at story telling, plotting it is all very intrresting.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I write in Word too, and make images in PowerPoint, Robbie. I didn’t grow up with computers and the transition from handwriting took place over a number of years and in a number of stages, but it’s complete now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it is great that you are fully computer literate, Norah. It keeps you in the hub of things. My mom doesn’t even have a smart phone so I can’t even Whatsapp her. I have to send her SMS’ and then remember to check for her response.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know about ‘fully’, Robbie, but fully enough for me, most times. I don’t have Whatsapp and have to admit that I’m not even sure what it is. I’m not fully functional in social media. 😉🤣😂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting, Robbie.
    I write research notes long hand in spiral notebooks, but any pre-planning or character sketches I do, I create in Word. Often in the form of tables. It’s always fun learning how other authors work!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We write a lot alike, Robbie. I start in a spreadsheet–it’s now 550 rows long and 65,000 words for my Book 3. I have tabs for the stuff you mentioned–like characters. Then I move to Word. It works for me–and you! I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. great to hear your methods, knew you were computer literate due to your prolific posts / publications 🙂
    initially wrote my first few hundred poems by hand only because I didn’t have a computer. Now they tumble out as quickly as I can type. I used to use excel etc heaps so I’m sure I could do that if the inclination arose 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s great to learn about your writing, research and planning style, Robbie. I’m a visual and hands-on person, but I also use my technology to its fullest because ultimately, it’s the most efficient (always crunched for time, it seems).

    Liked by 1 person

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