The Apple iPad is now in its third generation, and for any writer who hasn’t yet discovered the benefits of working with the iPad, now is the best possible time to put things right. Not only because the latest iPad (commonly dubbed the iPad 3) is the best of the bunch so far, but because the cost of the supremely popular iPad 2 has been dropped to make room for the new model. So which model should a writer who is new to the iPad experience go for – the lower priced iPad 2 or the brand new iPad 3?
The third-generation iPad boasts a Retina Display that gives you an even higher resolution than the already impressive iPad 2 (2048 x 1536 pixels instead of 1024 x 768 pixels). It also has a dual core A5X processor instead of a dual core A5, which obviously means that it has more processing power. If you’re the kind of writer who would like to watch movies in the highest resolution possible and/or play games at full-throttle then the third-generation iPad could be well worth the extra investment, but otherwise the iPad 2 would be perfectly sufficient for you.
Although the introduction of the iPad 3 might make some people view the iPad 2 as being ‘old technology’ it really isn’t. On the contrary, there is plenty of mileage left in the second-generation model, especially for those of us who are more interested in the business side of things than in playing games and watching high-def movies.
There are currently over 200,000 applications that can be downloaded and used on the iPad 2, so whether you want to take notes, work on office documents, keep an electronic journal, check your emails, browse the web, read e-books (either with Apple’s iBooks app or by downloading the Amazon Kindle app), plan your next novel or screenplay, write and upload entries to a blog, listen to music as you write, listen to podcasts for inspiration or do virtually anything else that the iPad 2 can handle, there’s really no great need to feel compelled to opt for the iPad 3.
Of course, once you’ve discovered just how useful the iPad 2 is, you may wish that you’d gone for the third-generation machine straight away, so my advice would be to let your budget be your guide. If your budget will stretch to a third-gen device and a decent cover then go for it and you’re likely to be delighted with your decision, but if you’re counting the pennies or simply being careful in the current economic climate, the iPad 2 is well worth grabbing at the newly reduced price.
The Amazon Kindle is now available in the UK, but for some reason you will still need to order it from the USA Amazon store. I find it incredible that the communication problems took so long to sort out, but I’m glad that I will now be able to take a look at the Amazon Kindle before the Plastic Logic Reader is eventually released (hopefully at some point in 2010).
Anyone who is trying to think of Christmas gifts for writers in the UK (or anywhere else now that the Kindle has international compatibility) might do well to consider the Amazon Kindle. You might also want to take another look at my Six Essential Gadgets for Writers articles (in two parts) for other Christmas gift ideas. For a final dose of inspiration, be sure to visit the Gadgets for Writers Store via the portals in the menu bar on the right hand side of this page.
Software isn’t usually classified as a gadget, but without software no gadget for writers would be able to function, so in this post I would like to talk a little about a piece of story creation software that I have been having a great time with over the past few weeks (which might explain my recent lack of posts!)
The software is StoryCraft 7.0, and it is designed for fiction writers who want to be able to take their raw ideas and transform them into fully-developed short stories, novels, and screenplays with far less fuss than you ever thought possible.
StoryCraft not only guides you through the entire process of creating and developing your stories, but also offers easy access to your word processor for each stage of your story. This enables you to quickly record your ideas and write your story with no interruptions, no delays and no excuses.
To start, StoryCraft takes your basic story idea and converts it into a concise Story Concept that will form the solid foundation on which you’ll build your story. The software then takes that Story Concept and lets you decide which Story Category (action, character, or epic) you want to use to develop the story.
The StoryCraft software employs the Jarvis Method, the system of fiction writing that is used as the accepted standard among university writing programs around the world. It identifies 18 basic patterns of stories that match all the great myths and literary classics, and gives you an instant outline of your story that is based upon your choice of one of those patterns, called Story Types.
StoryCraft then guides you through the creation of your story’s main characters and their helpers as well as the worlds that they populate, prompting you to describe the precise elements necessary for main characters of stories that match your Concept, Category, and Type.
If this sounds complex then let me assure you that it really isn’t. StoryCraft has built-in help instructions, accessible from every screen, that instantly describe the desired task. It also presents complete and continually updated Plot Outlines and Structure Outlines for your story as you write.
Those of you who have ever had an idea for a story but didn’t know how to flesh it out into something more substantial will love StoryCraft, and the good news is that it allows you to instantly put your writing into your favourite word-processing program – everything from MS Word to Final Draft! You can also import text that you might have already created, allowing you to put those old ideas to good use at last!
There is plenty more that I could say about StoryCraft, but I would rather use it than write about it, so if you are someone who would like to write fiction, or improve your current fictional output, I suggest that you pay a visit to the StoryCraft web site to take a look for yourself. Happy writing!