From pen and paper …

English: Floppy disc 3.5". Русский: Диске...

English: Floppy disc 3.5″. Русский: Дискета 3,5″. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I think back to the time I started on The Wizard’s Sword – actually Nine Worlds of Mirrortac in its initial incarnation – I was literally writing the story with a pen and paper. I had a portable typewriter back then so once I had written a draft, it was typed up. Then I bought a wordprocessor, which is like a cross between a typewriter and a computer. It was electric and could type/print onto paper as well as store a limited amount of material. It also had a small screen that displayed the words a small amount at a time. You could scroll through it and get it to print it out.

My first computer was an Apple 2c, which had no hard drive but what was termed a boot disk drive. You had to ‘boot’ it with a program disk and store the documents on another disk. These floppy disks were about the size of a CD but were encased in a paper square. You could only use one at a time, so it was a process of putting in a disk, taking it out, putting in another disk … and so on. The screen background was black while the print was green. And my wordprocessing program was in a package called Appleworks. I produced a lot of material on that Apple before finally acquiring my first PC – a 40MB hard drive with 1MB RAM running on basic DOS. That meant typing onto a black screen again to access programs.

Things were looking up. I now used a dot-matrix printer with the computer, and 3.5in floppy disks. I think there was also a large floppy drive as well.  Windows 95 came along and the whole process stepped up several degrees. PCs gradually needed more capacity, and what earlier took a whole room at a newspaper to store 600MB, now needed only a rectangular hard drive within a PC. The Wizard’s Sword had gone through a number of rewrites and tweaks by this stage, as well as having to rewrite from hard copy after losing access to old floppy disk documents. The book also had been published in various forms: initially as an ebook in a PDF format on a 3.5in disk to being in print in Australia, then America, and finally as an ebook on Smashwords and Amazon. CDs and DVDs have replaced the more fragile floppies.

I graduated to a laptop for ease of travel, which was  a little like going back to a typewriter but one with a big screen instead of a tiny one, and using a separate printer connected by cord to the laptop. The age of internet was in full swing by this stage, and it was a relief finally to go from dial-up using the telephone line, to ADSL broadband, still using the phone line but on a splitter and using a WiFi modem, thus eliminating the need for a cord connection. Book 2 of what is collectively called The Nine Worlds of Mirrortac series – Three Stones of Destiny – was written mostly on a collection of laptops, and each stage stored both on my PC, a back-up Terabyte drive, and on the internet – the Cloud as they called it now.

It’s been an incredible journey through technology from a mere pen and paper to computers. With my last laptop threatening to crash on me forever, I made one more graduation back to a PC, but an All-in-One. The rather large screen suits my work from home as a sub-editor for a newspaper group, as well as serving the purpose of continuing my journey into book 3 – The Gold Sarcophagus.  I’ve had to back off from the constant sitting in front of a computer and late nights distracted by PC games to trying to balance my life more, but ultimately my energies will return to work on this last of the Nine Worlds series. I own an iPod that I use to ‘write’ notes for my book (among other things), and an ereader as well as ereader programs to read on screen. Who knows what will be next …


About mirrortac

Author, editor, nature observer

Posted on May 4, 2013, in Fantasy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on From pen and paper ….

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