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Old 01-28-2012, 01:41 AM   #1
Harper Kingsley
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Do you write your story long hand? Well, here's some useful advice

I thought I would share a bit of hard learned advice: if you write longhand in a notebook or on loose sheets or whatever, make sure you type them up as you go along

Every once and awhile I find myself unable to wrap up a story, and writing it out longhand actually makes it easier for me. I think it might be because there's no real room for me to stop and edit things as I'm going so I just kind of let my thoughts flow straight onto the paper. It really helps me get passed scenes that otherwise might catch me up.

Unfortunately, my Dad made me ride somewhere with him and I forgot my folder in his car. So he, being the guy he is, when he found the folder a couple of days later, didn't say anything to me. He just brought it into his house and had it sitting around for several days. Then somehow it ended up in his firebox, and from there it ended up helping start a fire. He never even opened it to see what it was.

Like 20 pages of story just POOF! gone forever.

The worst thing? That this has been like the second time I've had this happen to me.

The first time I was rushing off to work and I had a fever and was completely out of my head and I put my clipboard on top of the car while I put things in the backseat. Then I hopped in and told my mom to drive and that was that... The clipboard was lost and gone forever.

I need a keeper or something.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:06 AM   #2
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Typing seems like it might take long enough that you'd put it off for risky intervals, especially if you start to view it as a tedious chore*.

Perhaps just dumping the pages onto a scanner or mastering the focus on a digital camera enough so you get legible photos?

That way you get a backup you can do on a regular easy basis and you can discard stuff that doesn't work and only spend your time typing up the things you want to keep. And you get to keep any sketches and miscellaneous jotted but not-particularly-coherent random notes you make.

* "Ugh, I wrote another 15 pages today. Carpal tunnel, here I come!"
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:46 PM   #3
Harper Kingsley
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I need to do something. It just seems that sometimes I'm driven to write it out by hand. It's really helpful--like I wouldn't have been able to finish "Heroes & Villains" if I hadn't written big chunks out by hand--but to lose those papers... It's like being gutted.

My brother gave me his old digital camera so maybe I'll start taking pictures of my pages as I go along. Do they still even sell hand scanners anymore? Or I used to have a digital pen--you write on the special paper (?) then plug the pen into your computer and the recognition software types everything up (I think I lost the pen somewhere though. I'm so scatterbrained.)
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Harper Kingsley View Post
I thought I would share a bit of hard learned advice: if you write longhand in a notebook or on loose sheets or whatever, make sure you type them up as you go along

Every once and awhile I find myself unable to wrap up a story, and writing it out longhand actually makes it easier for me. I think it might be because there's no real room for me to stop and edit things as I'm going so I just kind of let my thoughts flow straight onto the paper. It really helps me get passed scenes that otherwise might catch me up.

Unfortunately, my Dad made me ride somewhere with him and I forgot my folder in his car. So he, being the guy he is, when he found the folder a couple of days later, didn't say anything to me. He just brought it into his house and had it sitting around for several days. Then somehow it ended up in his firebox, and from there it ended up helping start a fire. He never even opened it to see what it was.

Like 20 pages of story just POOF! gone forever.

The worst thing? That this has been like the second time I've had this happen to me.

The first time I was rushing off to work and I had a fever and was completely out of my head and I put my clipboard on top of the car while I put things in the backseat. Then I hopped in and told my mom to drive and that was that... The clipboard was lost and gone forever.

I need a keeper or something.
The "firebox" accident seems to me like someone was "teaching" a lesson to someone else. I don't buy it.

I have the opposite problem. My handwritten notes, on cards, on sheets of typing paper on clipboards or in spiral or cloth bound note books never disappear. They just keep piling up. Then I collect them in plastic bins (about shoe box size) and eventually try to go through them. It becomes a gigantic task. (Maybe I need a "firebox.")

The other thing I have done when driving is to record thoughts or even sections of stories. I then have to type them up. I stopped doing that except when I have to put something down and don't have a piece of paper, and now days usually use the recording function on the phone.

What I really need is some kind of OCR program that would let me run all the handwritten cards and papers through the scanner, and convert them to typed text in a file. Likewise a program that would take the sound recordings and convert them also.

Anyway, I don't trust your dad. I believe that there is something going on there. A message is being broadcast that is not received.
i.e. " a failure to communicate."
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:48 PM   #5
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There's the Doxie GO or Irisscan anywhere, portable computer-less scanners (scan to SD card), though the feed through limits them to detached pages - not sure if either supports being taken off the base and used as a drive over instead of a feed through
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #6
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Depending on the story I'm telling, I will sometimes write longhand and that is very sage advice. Which I did not heed with my current story that I am still busily typing up... but good advice all the same!
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:01 PM   #7
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The current generation of cell phone cameras have good enough imaging to record this sort of thing if you have a table and some decent lighting (e.g. indirect daylight) available.

I use an app that corrects geometry distortion, color-and-contrast corrects, and e-mails a PDF on demand (phone can also be set into a "wireless server" mode to offload any/all files to your home/work PC). My 'scanned' pages are legible up to legal-size. We also use this technique for whiteboard content distribution after brainstorming or customer visits these days.

I use JotNot Pro on my iPhone 4 but there is a decent choice of similar apps.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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That really sucks losing that much of your story. I hate writing anything longhand anymore. I type short notes to people and only use email. When I write, I type as I go. I'm pretty anal about making backups too. I have an external drive and an off site storage that are both backed up automatically.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:05 PM   #9
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That really sucks losing that much of your story. I hate writing anything longhand anymore. I type short notes to people and only use email. When I write, I type as I go. I'm pretty anal about making backups too. I have an external drive and an off site storage that are both backed up automatically.
You have the right idea about backing up.

One quick way to backup is to have a gmail account that you can send writeups to. I actually send attachments I call storage, like: "storage 12 02 13 story73update" to a secondary gmail account.
That will have the latest chapters in "story 73."

What I really want is an OCR that will render longhand on a piece of paper (I usually use cards, say 6" x4" or even larger for ease in handling while in a car or plane, restaurant, a boat, or even a canoe) into digital text. The cards are more expensive, but easy to handle, carry in a pocket, and less likely to be damaged. The other important trick is to use a waterproof ink.
There are OCR products that might handle hand printed letters where each letter is a distinct image, but when you get to linked letters (i.e. cursive) there are problems.

Still it is about time to check into the technology again, and see what improvements have been made.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:09 PM   #10
John Carroll
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I can't actually read my handwriting and the thought of having to type it out after I've written it drives me nuts!
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:03 AM   #11
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You can get OCR pens - you write as normal on paper and the pen actually records what you've written digitally. I'm not entirely sure how it works as I've only seen them in shops, never used them, but they seem reasonably priced.
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