Mar. 15 Writing Prompt

Over the weekend, we covered a couple of aspects of point of view. One had you start to think like another person, and the other showed you how important POV can be to your story.

I was going to continue with POV lessons, but I came across a question in a writing group that I want to help with. The question and answer are important, though not often thought about. Hopefully, with today’s prompt you can answer that question for yourself.

What was the question?

Can I write and finish a novel using only my smartphone?

If I had heard this question 20, 10 or even 5 years ago, I’d have laughed and held my stomach while my cheeks began to ache.

But times and technologies are changing. Some in a good way, and some in a not-so good way.

It is in my nature to reject change. I refused to get a cell phone until the mid 2000s, I used only desktop computers and usually order the same things when I go out to eat (at the same restaurants).

But I do own a laptop, and a tablet, and two cell phones and many other digital devices. My novel writing started with pen and paper because a simple desktop computer from Radio Shack was still $3000. I rarely write more than notes on paper anymore.

When I saw the question, the first thing that came to my head was, “that might just be the most difficult thing I could imagine.”

Writing on a cellphone
Writing only on a cellphone? Sounds absurd to me!

I still use my desktop computer for 99% of my work. When I do use the desktop the USB mouse and keyboard are on my desk. The laptop is connected to the TV through HDMI cables. The idea of using my 6-inch phone screen with half of it taken up by a virtual keyboard is absurd to me.

Then I gave it some thought.

The whole idea behind the Extra Draft Writing Method is adapt, change, make it fit for you and your needs.

So what if someone has a cellphone and a story idea and nothing more? Can it be done? Can you write, edit, plot, revise and polish a novel with nothing more than a cell phone?

Let’s give it a try.

March 15

Using nothing but a smartphone, write an entire scene, check it for spelling and grammar, and rewrite it.

Technology is great. And I took some time to truly investigate the possibilities here.

Most smartphones have spell check built in. Auto-correct will help you with spelling as you write, which is a good thing.

The harder part comes with grammar checking. Which admittedly, I don’t do much of until draft 3 or 4. Online sites like ProWritingAid and Grammarly do work on your phone’s browser, but can get tedious. There are also apps that you can download to check grammar and a lot of the writing apps have built-in options.

The task of actually writing is fairly easy, you just type, like you do with a Facebook status update or a tweet, only, you know, more.

Plotting is also easy. You can use the writing program to have an outline typed up, or you can use a note taking app. If you are on Android, you can even use Google Docs with the Google Keep app for notes. This may be the most inclusive method of writing on your phone, but you need a Google account and iPhone access is spotty.

The hardest part is the revision. Unless you print your draft and go through the Red Pen Edits phase, it can get cumbersome. But that doesn’t mean impossible. You just need to use two instances of the writing app and go back and forth.

So, can it be done? You tell me.

Follow the prompt using nothing but your phone and post your finished scene in the comment section below.

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