Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little More to the Left

I'm a cut-and-paste kind of guy.

Nothing to be ashamed of, I guess. I like control-x'ing and control-v'ing my way around documents when I revise. A word looks out of place? No problem, let's try it over there. Still no good? How about there, or there, or right over there?

It's not just words I like to rearrange. Sentences, paragraphs, whole scenes. I've been known to cut entire chapters and move them to another place in the story, just to see how they fit.

No good? That's what the Undo button is for.

(How did people write before word processors?)

Wouldn't it be great if you could cut-and-paste other stuff? Your lawn's looking a little spotty? Head over to the golf course and cut a swath of some nice fairway and paste it on your lawn. Need to paint the house? Hello cut-and-paste, goodbye Sherwin-Williams.

Microsoft is probably already working on it.



Stephen Parrish said...

It would do wonders for a troubled marriage, wouldn't it?

Levi Montgomery said...

How did people write before word processors? I have no idea, and I still recall sitting across a very small table from the hottest girl in all of sixth grade, watching her lips and trying to type on a forty-pound monster with no symbols on its keycaps. Because, you know, everybody has to know how to type.

And what comes out is paper, and paper is so linear. Begin here, write until you get there. That's draft one. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The first three parts I write (quite possibly in the wrong order) are always the beginning, the end, and something in the middle. Fill it in until you're done. Every time I get to whining about how I should have started writing decades ago, I remind myself that there is no way I could have written anything worth reading when the scissors, the paste, and the desktop were all very literal.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I need an "undo" button (ctrl Z) for life. :)


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm with you Elizabeth. An undo button for life, that's the ticket. And a spell check type thingy to check and correct all the stupid things I say BEFORE I say them.

Elspeth Futcher said...

Here's another vote for a life 'undo' button!

I can't fathom not writing without the joy of a word processing program. I don't do too much with the 'copy' 'paste', but I'm all about the delete key.

Terry Odell said...

Whenever I'm at a workshop where we have to write something with a PEN on PAPER, I freak. Where's the cut and paste on a pen? I am constantly rearranging for better flow. It's cause a few glitches when I've copies something into the wrong place, or forgotten to delete the original when I was playing around, but it's a tool I can't live without. I have my mouse buttons configured for copy and paste so I don't need to use the keyboard.

Dorte H said...

I am a control + s-person. If I am forced to handwrite anything, I can feel my fingers wanting to save it all the time :D

Alan Orloff said...

Stephen - Ah, so true. I can think of a few more, uh, non-traditional uses, too.

Levi - I agree. A writer's thought process must have been very different knowing how difficult it was going to be to make changes. Maybe they thought a lot longer before "writing" something down.

Elizabeth - Definitely would come in handy.

Sue Ann - I'm going to pass both your spell check thingy idea and Elizabeth's Life Undo button suggestion along to Bill (Gates). I'll let you know what he says.

Elspeth - Delete is okay, as long as you have multiple layers of Undo to use just in case.

Terry - Write on paper? Oh the horror! Cut and paste on a pen - nice!

Dorte - Yes, hitting the save icon every few seconds has saved me, many times.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Me, too, on the "life undo" button. I need that.

I love cut and paste, but I also like printing out a manuscript and using a cut and tape to rearrange scenes or even chapters. It helps me to spread out the paper pages instead of scrolling through screens.

Lorel Clayton said...

I normally love cntrl-x, -c, -v all of it, but it was acting insane in Blogger for me today. Must go back to Word now to calm my nerves.
I passed a blog award on to you by the way: