Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Micro writing and other methods of crafting your novel

When I speak of “micro writing”, it might be something you’ve already heard of or tried employing in your own writing tactics. It could also be called something completely different and I’m just using that phrase to fit what I do personally. Micro writing to me is writing in very, very short bursts (I mean very short, probably shorter than most of you). When I wrote my first novel Thicket, it took me roughly two and a half years to complete using this method. I’m talking writing specifically two to three paragraphs at a time over many days and nights. I did this specifically toward the end of my manuscript, and when I started doing it consecutively (over a 3 month span, twice in 2015) it made the flow of my writing that much more manageable. I found that writing this way allowed me to re-read and edit my passages much more easily and effectively. I could really focus on the words and structure for half an hour, then go ahead and write the next three or so paragraphs and do the same thing the next night. I guess I sorta did this out of necessity because I had three daughters under the age of six that I watched and cared for during the day time hours. In the end, it really cut down on editing the final manuscript. I’d say the only edits I really made were the ones suggested to me by Jonathan and Sherayah at Thurston Howl Publications. Even then, the process of editing the whole thing in about a weeks time was comically easy.

Did I mention I wrote the entire novel (between 70-80k words) exclusively on my iPhone 4? That tiny wonder was the best size and fit for my fingers. As smart phones continue to expand in size, I hope that my current cellular device (iPhone 5s) will continue to be my preferred instrument of creation. The ability to go back and forth between thesaurus apps, wiki pages for research and the notepad app itself are what make writing my stories less problematic than if I had to keep going between physical literature and mouse clicks on a desktop. A friend of mine once gave me a laptop to write on because he couldn’t believe that my eyes weren’t straining (which they most definitely were/are, but it’s better than being/having been an alcoholic or having writers block). I don’t know, I guess i’m just a product of our finger tapping, face down/text neck culture. It works for me though, and I won’t fix what isn’t broken. What do you all write on? Do you think you can persuade me to write differently and on a different platform? I’d love to hear what you’ve got.

I’ve written roughly thirty-something books-- I don’t have an exact count because I’m not sure I want to know how much time I’ve sunk into this. Over the years I’ve composed fiction on just about everything that can store the written alphabet, from notebook paper to a Commodore 64 to about a dozen different desktops to about the same number of laptops to PDA’s to iPads to iPhones.

I’ve learned several things from this. One is that while bigger screens are indeed for me better, particularly for editing, it’s the keyboard that’s truly important. I invariably use a full-sized (bluetooth, for the phone) keyboard with whichever device becomes my daily weapon of choice. A second lesson was that composing is a much less demanding a task (in terms of equipment) than editing. During editing a mouse helps a lot, as well as a screen large enough to easily reveal the difference between a period and a comma. In terms of technology in general, the biggest aid to my own productivity since the Commodore was the advent of iCloud (for me-- I understand there are other similar services out there for users of other platforms) and the ability to automatically share updated docs between machines. But the biggest learning of all came early, when I bought my first tiny-screened, one-hour-battery, heavy and barely-capable laptop. And that was that. For me, switching from machine to machine and writing in different environments on different days proved a huge boost to productivity. Today, in a given week, I may rotate through writing on my desktop, my laptop, my iPad, my (oversized) phone, and… Just recently I wired up a large-screen 4k TV in such a way that I can sit and write in my recliner with feet up and utilizing bluetooth input devices sitting on a lap-desk. (I’m composing this post that way right now.) Keeping the device-mix well stirred still helps keep the creative juices flowing, all these years later.

Everyone’s different, so this may not help you in the least. But the more I mix my devices up and the more places I go to sit and work, the higher my output tends to be. Just my .02

I wrote most of my novel on my tablet. Then when I can write on a computer my words per day doubled.

I love the idea of writing on a big screen! That’s pretty cool that you have that option. I feel it could be a way of reducing distractions as well. I’ve also made use of cloud based writing, going back and forth between phone and tablet. The kids usually have the bigger modes of media, though. I’m going to look into “4k TV” writing, see if my current set up would allow that. Cool stuff.

I’m not very adept technically. But, in selecting my writing-TV I learned that some are far more suitable for use as a monitor than others. While the tv-techspeak soon degenerated into gibberish for me, there’s a standard called “4:4:4 Chroma” that’s apparently vital to not ending up with misshapen text, and there are also refresh-rate issues, etc. I’d be very careful, for example not buying anything from anyone who seems unfamiliar with 4:4:4 Chroma. (I learned that most salespeople never heard of it, and few website blurbs mentioned it either.) This website proved more useful to me than any other…

For further information, I personally selected this


and am so far very happy with the results. All functions work perfectly with a baseline late 2015 iMac desktop and nearly as well (every once in a while, when watching 4k video only, it has a spot of trouble keeping up) with a first-model 12" Retina Mac Book that has the mid-level processor (not the baseline one). It’s just like using a ginormous desktop, save that I’m sitting in something well-padded with my feet up. Plus, being further away from the screen (so far; the jury’s still out) seems easier on my eyes. A hideously-ugly but cheap and effective $16 lap-desk from Amazon completes the ensemble.

Good luck, if you decide to go this way! I look forward to a thread on “macro-writing”. =:)