The Creative Writer's Setup: Colin

1. Who are you, and what do you write?
My name is Colin. I live in Bracknell in England (it's around 30 miles south of London). At school and during my teenage years I used to devour horror books, often buying five or six at a time. My writing reflected those books - and there are still elements of horror in much of my writing today. Eventually it all reached critical mass and I grew bored with houses eating people and giant praying mantises roaming the streets. In my early twenties I managed to become one of Britain's three million unemployed. Which turned out to be quite a good thing. With so much 'free time' I was able to spend hours in my local library. And that was where I discovered the work of Kurt Vonnegut Jr and Richard Brautigan. Breakfast of Champions and Sombrero Fallout introduced me to a whole new take on writing. I realised how narrow-minded I had been. Subsequently, my new writing began to be influenced by these two great American writers and it was probably through them that I began to find my own 'writing voice'. However, I still have not found a 'genre', unless there really is one called 'non-specific' or 'miscellaneous'. My writing is mostly idea-based, with character development secondary. I'm not one for overly convoluted descriptions of scenery. When all is said and done I really just write for myself. I'm not concerned with people liking what I do, I know only that I must follow my own path.

2. What hardware are you using?
Because my PowerMac G5 died last year I've only got my trusty old PowerBook G4 to work on. Horribly out of date I know, but it still works. I plug in a very old Wacom tablet, because I prefer to use the pen rather than the trackpad. Photography is a major interest of mine, and I use a Canon EOS 400D with kit lens and 70-300mm zoom.

3. And what software?
My first NaNo was last year and I decided to take advantage of the special Scrivener trial, which I found to be brilliant as it put everything in one window - previous chapters were just a click away. Even better, it provided an easy way to keep track of my word count. I will of course be using it again this year. When I'm doing my own thing my weapons of choice are QuarkXPress and Photoshop, with Canon's proprietary Digital Photo Professional on hand to deal with RAW conversions. And because I like to cover all creative bases, I mess around with GarageBand and iMovie.

4. What would be your dream setup?
I'd probably go for a 12-Core Mac Pro with a 27" Cinema Display, a 15" MacBook Pro, latest versions of Photoshop & QuarkXPress, the new (and as yet unavailable) Canon EOS-1D X with a ton of lenses, and the space in which to put it all.

This is a special version of a popular feature in which I invite writers and fellow NaNoWriMo participants to share what technology they use to get their jobs done. These interviews are unedited. Photos are property of interviewees.

All the interviews can be found here.


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