The Modern Writer

Currently listening to…a live stream of “Mass Effect 1″…because not every day is a music day…I guess… >.<

As some of you may have noticed in previous posts, I am, without a doubt, a modern writer. I was born during the rapid rise of modern technology, and I really can’t remember a time in my life when there wasn’t a computer in my house. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of when I would sit on my dad’s lap while he worked on his computers. I got my first email address when I was roughly 7 years old, taught myself basic HTML at 10, and was self-publishing my “books” online at the age of 15. I am a gamer and a YouTube addict, and it is not uncommon to find me tapping away at an app on my phone or watching a game stream on Twitch while I wash dishes.

I’ve heard a lot of talk in recent years regarding technology and its effect on writing. For instance, some of you may have noticed the increase in remakes of older movies that have been hitting the theaters, and Hollywood doesn’t seem poised for a real comeback of original material any time soon. Most of the articles I’ve read focus specifically on Hollywood’s drive for money as the reason for their lack of inspiration, but one person I spoke with the other day told me, “It’s because everyone is so focused on consuming their technology that no one is going out, living life, having adventures, and coming up with their own ideas.”

McCauley Marketing Services wrote a blog post addressing the effect of technology on creativity a few years ago. Even though it is certainly a company-focused post, it still is a very interesting read.

So is technology having a negative effect on the writing world? I think it’s highly likely that the obsession with it could, but as a techie and modern writer myself, I have found that there are also some very positive possibilities for writing improvement and inspiration available thanks to the advancement of technology.

Recently I have been searching through my smartphone’s app store for things to help me with my writing. There actually seem to be quite a few options, but I thought I would go ahead and list the four I’ve become particularly fond of. (All free, mind you). Please note, these are all for Android. For those of you who use iOS, I’m sorry, but I have no idea if these are available to you or not.

1. Plot Generator

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Plot Generator is an app that focuses on generating ideas for stories, and comes with a variety of genre options. Every roll of the digital dice will throw out a random combination of location, character, detail, and objective ideas. As far as the details and objectives for the fantasy genre go, they don’t seem to have a lot of options (of course, fantasy is known for its cliche plot lines), but it’s still a really good way to get the creative juices flowing.

2. Writeometer

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I am a certified chronic procrastinator, so when I found the Writeometer app, I was pretty excited. This app features a word counter, a goal-setter, a timer, and reminder notification options. Completing daily goals earns you “guavas,” which theoretically can be turned in for little “rewards,” though I have not dealt with that feature yet. This could be really helpful for NaNoWriMo, too, so I’m already itching to give it a try on a brand new project in November. (As if I actually need to start another project).

3. WritingExercises wp-1474554154821.png

WritingExercises functions a lot like Plot Generator. Except that instead of generating plots, this one’s focus is on generating prompts. Whenever you open the app, you are given the choice between a random first line, subject, character, or plot. I’d say it works well alongside Plot Generator, and fills in some of the proverbial gaps of the other app.

4. Character Planner wp-1474554200807.png

Character Planner is a full-scale (manual) character creation app. It has so many options for recording character information, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to answer all the slots even if I was doing a profile for my own mother. The point is for you to really get to know your character, and to record that information so you don’t forget it later.

Over all, I think that modern technology has a lot of potential to improve a writer’s abilities and projects, if used properly. I am interested, however, to hear other people’s opinions on the matter. In any case, thanks for visiting my blog, and happy reading!

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