Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

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TwilightWriter
 
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Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby TwilightWriter » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:17 pm

Hello everyone, I have spent countless hours trying to find a simple, but decent writing program similar to Microsoft Word 2003. I don't need bells and whistles. I've heard that the newer versions of Microsoft Word are not geared towards the novel writer and are hard to navigate. Is this true? If you are using Microsoft Word newer versions I'd love to get your feedback on it from a writers stand point. I have tried many trial versions of online writing programs and although many are quite nice, nothing, so far, will allow me to use Dragon Naturally Speaking. I can dictate, but cannot use voice commands to open the tabs, tools, files, ect. I need some serious help in finding a simple, yet effective writing tool geared for the novel writer, and especially one that allows me to use Dragon in every way. Thank you for your help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

James A. Ritchie
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:18 am

I love the latest versions of Word. Navigation is different, but I had everything figured out in an hour or so, and after that it was easy. You can download a trial version of the latest MS Office, and try it out. You can even try it out online, and there's a full tutorial on the Microsoft website.

It's just as easy to write a novel using Word as it is with any other word processor. Yes, Word has a lot of bells and whistle. Some are highly useful, and some aren't, but you simply don't have to use any you don't need. Writing a novel in Word is a matter of opening it and writing. And Word does many helpful things that other writing program can't do nearly as well, or can't do at all. And Outlook is the choice of professional editors and agent. With it, you can send and receive perfectly formatted stories.

I haven't found much that Dragon doesn't work with, and I often use it to run everything on my computer. It certainly works perfectly with every program in MS Office, and I write a lot of e-mails using it. But I can't write fiction using Dragon. My mind just doesn't work that way, and I can't think of anything to write. I think MS Office should be on every writer's computer.

Having said this, while I use Outlook on a daily basis, Word is often what I put my writing into after it's finished. I need Word's tools for dealing with editors, but I do most of my on computer writing with Q10, and no word processor is simpler, more minimalist. Word is fantastic, the best there is, for dealing with agents and editors, but you can write a novel with any word processor. Q10 lets me write everything with no hassle, and zero bells and whistles, other than one bell that makes the computer keys sound like a manual typewriter. http://www.baara.com/q10/

Writers spend way too much time worrying about which program to use. Any program will do for the writing itself. Novels are written with wetware, not software.

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mammamaia
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby mammamaia » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:21 am

I've heard that the newer versions of Microsoft Word are not geared towards the novel writer and are hard to navigate. Is this true? If you are using Microsoft Word newer versions I'd love to get your feedback on it from a writers stand point.

no, it's not true...

i've been using the various ms word editions since before it hit the new century and am currently using the 2010 version, have no major complaints, though many things are quite different from its predecessor... just takes a bit of time to get used to and then you forget what it was like before...
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robjvargas
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby robjvargas » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:55 am

MS Word is a multi-tool. It's got functions for all different kinds of writing. Many of those functions are irrelevant to fiction writing. Others are more relevant, but still useful.

I think it's a fair assessment to say that certain other applications out there are more useful to fiction writers than MS Word.

Just like I've wrapped a towel around a pipe locked in place with vise-grips rather than buying an actual pipe wrench for one job, it really depends on what you expect from the application.

You can make MS Word do what you want it to do.
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James A. Ritchie
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:33 pm

robjvargas wrote:MS Word is a multi-tool. It's got functions for all different kinds of writing. Many of those functions are irrelevant to fiction writing. Others are more relevant, but still useful.

I think it's a fair assessment to say that certain other applications out there are more useful to fiction writers than MS Word.

Just like I've wrapped a towel around a pipe locked in place with vise-grips rather than buying an actual pipe wrench for one job, it really depends on what you expect from the application.

You can make MS Word do what you want it to do.



I think I've tried every writing program out there, and not one is nearly as good for writing fiction as Word. Writers use all sorts of programs, but almost every pro I know uses one of three. Word is first by a huge margin. Pages is second. Libre/OpenOffice is third.

The writing itself isn't why most use any program. You can write a perfectly good novel using Notepad. But writing to sell is a business, and it really helps to have profession business tools that go with it. Word allows direct interaction with agents and editors is ways you simply can't do with other programs, and Outlook is, if anything, even more valuable. Other, free e-mail clients constantly screw up formatting, and this is a problem. Sometimes a huge problem.

TwilightWriter
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby TwilightWriter » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:39 pm

Thank you all so very much for your feedback. It always helps to hear from actual users of programs and getting their thoughts on the matter. You have all helped me to make my decision and I do appreciate it. I will lay fears aside and get the new version of Microsoft Word, Q10, which I knew nothing about till now (excellent sounding program), and get back to the simple joy of writing. Thanks for your help everyone! Happy Writing! :D

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Anya Kylash
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby Anya Kylash » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:24 pm

I use MSword 2010. It's been absolutely brilliant and perfect for my ever novel-writing need.
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jannertfol
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby jannertfol » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:26 am

James A. Ritchie wrote:
Writers spend way too much time worrying about which program to use. Any program will do for the writing itself. Novels are written with wetware, not software.


Unfortunately, while you can write using any program, you can't always upload what you've written to sites like this, or even emails. You lose formatting, if the systems aren't compatible. I write using iPages, and I discovered that even uploading a small sample of my writing onto this forum meant I lost italics and my paragraph indents.

It's not so much whether or not a program is good, I think it boils down to how many other people use it. Word is the most-used program, so it's probably the best one to pick. However, I'm a Mac person, and have always used Mac software for my writing (Claris, Apple and now Pages.) This means I have a problem when it comes to sharing.

What I'd love to know is: does a program exist that will CONVERT any text into a format which anybody can receive intact?

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robjvargas
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby robjvargas » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:50 am

jannertfol wrote:What I'd love to know is: does a program exist that will CONVERT any text into a format which anybody can receive intact?


In a word: no.

Even word has changed its text formatting over time. It moved the extension from .doc to .docx to mark that it was changing the way files are saved.

There *are* programs that are very good at converting to other formats. OpenOffice/LibreOffice is pretty good. I think WordPerfect is still out there, and not bad. Some of the "pure" writing programs like Scrivener, YWriter, and others, they convert to .doc, and I think their later versions even do .docx.

Remember, though, that the underlying forum software here is not, per se, a document format program. It uses a form of tagging call UBBCode. I *think* there are plugins for the software that permit it to format Word docs, but they are clearly not in effect here.
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James A. Ritchie
 
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Re: Dragon Speak vs. Writing Programs

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:28 pm

robjvargas wrote:
jannertfol wrote:What I'd love to know is: does a program exist that will CONVERT any text into a format which anybody can receive intact?


In a word: no.

Even word has changed its text formatting over time. It moved the extension from .doc to .docx to mark that it was changing the way files are saved.

There *are* programs that are very good at converting to other formats. OpenOffice/LibreOffice is pretty good. I think WordPerfect is still out there, and not bad. Some of the "pure" writing programs like Scrivener, YWriter, and others, they convert to .doc, and I think their later versions even do .docx.

Remember, though, that the underlying forum software here is not, per se, a document format program. It uses a form of tagging call UBBCode. I *think* there are plugins for the software that permit it to format Word docs, but they are clearly not in effect here.



Well, Word saves however you want it to save, and you can change the default to suit yourself. By and large, RTF is the best choice for those who don't have Word, and almost any word processor can handle it. RTF is also usually the best choice for electronic submissions where format must be saved. MS Outlook does this perfectly. Gmail does it very well, and almost any word processor can handle it. I don't think I've found a word processor, including LibreOffice, than always handles a DOC file perfectly, but LibreOffice is excellent at handling RTF.


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