You might wonder where this blog is going with a title like that. Well, in the modern way, I apologise to everyone before I start, for whatever, whenever, whoever. So there!
I was chatting to a friend about Story Software and he noticed that many so-called ‘for writers’ word processors (those aimed at serious writers) have a blank slate/screen, with few or no buttons, menus etc. This is basically a simple or minified UI (user interface) so people can concentrate on the task in hand and not get distracted.
As a biological example, higher animals have a complex and expressive area for sending/receiving information (the face) and a simple UI for mating. The intense relationship between the two might be about information processing in tiers, complex to simple, but that is getting into Rudy Rucker territory.
In the writing realm, consider the over-crowded and ever-changing UI of all-in-one software like MS Word, and a paper and pen.
So to focus, simplify the interface.
Story Software tip: use the shortcut Ctr-Shift-A to get your current text box or image to expand to full screen. This still has the toolbar at the top but I am adding a ‘minify the minify’ option to remove even that. This will be in v2.3 and called the mini-mini button.
It is actually easier to edit text at 100% so probably better to make your main typing box full screen manually but whatever, there are many ways to get the same result.
A simple user interface seems to be especially appealing to Mac users, so on the Mac everything will also go white, apart from the text, which will go whitey-grey.
Last week saw the start of NaNoWriMo the November novel-writing sprint. I am starting a new graphic novel, this will be blogged about on Story Turbo.
How to write: ideas:
Talking of minimal UIs, in the area of costumes, there is the Ku Klux Klan’s white tent with eye holes, and the black burka with eye slot (I suppose, dominance and submission).
Story starter: two characters, one in KKK garb, other in a burka: ‘eyes meet across a crowded room’. Write a story to get to that point, without offending anyone (unless you really want to).
The above story starter could lead to tolerance, intolerance, racism, anti-racism (set in a Council office), aliens (for SF), student fancy dress party (for coming of age), spanking (if you want some sales), a graphic novel with black and white illustrations, perhaps a bit of grey…