Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Robot Assistants: 2010 Edition

bios [bible]

Image Credit: Flickr - Gastev

Much has been said about what technology is doing to literature from the reading side. But what can technology do for those on the writing side?

Several programs have recently been released to make the writer’s difficult task easier—or at least more manageable. Here’s a roundup, just in time for the start of NaNoWriMo:

First, to help remove distractions, FocusWriter gives writers with a pared-down word processor that fills the entire screen, theoretically minimizing the temptation to waste time on the internet instead of writing. Unlike other stripped-down word processors, though, FocusWriter still provides basic features like word, paragraph, and page counts; spell check; pretty themes for “ambiance”; and the option to set daily goals by either page count or time spent writing. The program is freeware and available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. (Via.)

For those who need a little more prodding to sit down and write, there’s One Page Per Day, which aims to help writers produce just that. The site describes itself as “a very simple web typewriter that presents you with a single blank page each day. You are free from the tyranny of the infinite page.” Users log in with a Google or Twitter account and get a blank page with a minimalist interface—and gentle reminders to fill that page. Reports Lifehacker:

Your work is saved automatically, and every day that you haven’t been over to the app, you’ll get an email or Twitter reminder to do so. You can see what other users have been typing up for inspiration in the Glimpses section, and share your own work that way, if you’d like.

For writers needing organizational help, Literature and Latte will soon release a version of Scrivener for Windows. Last year we noted that Scrivener offered a free trial in honor of NaNoWriMo but was for Macs only; the Windows version will be out in early 2011, but NaNoWriMo participants can get try it early. PC World reports:

The official release of 2.0 isn’t scheduled until November 1st–to coincide with NaNoWriMo’s kickoff–but Literature & Latte released this trial version, which will remain fully functional from now until December 7, so that prospective NaNoWriMo participants can give the software a shot. It even comes with a special NaNoWriMo novel template which automatically sets your target at the requisite 50,000 words.

And those who achieve 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo this year will get a coupon for 50% off a purchase of Scrivener for Windows once it’s released. Their website offers more information on the both Windows and Mac versions and the opportunity to download beta versions of each.

Finally, if you just want your typed words to look a little more… personal, GalleyCat reports on Pilot Handwriting, a program that lets you turn your own handwriting into a font.

Literary Partners