Greg Rucka, everybody. When you pass out from stark boredom three lines into this one, blame him.
Okay, so, yes, I did write a chunk of GUN MACHINE on the iPad. I did it in a couple of different ways, depending on my mood. To write material on your iPad, you need:
* A keyboard case. I have the Logitech Zagg Keyboard Case for iPad, which is a nice keyboard inside a padded aircraft-grade aluminium shell, that connects via Bluetooth. It is very good.
* Dropbox. Dropbox Dropbox Dropbox. Seriously.
* I have two basic word programs on the iPad that both pretty much do the same thing. PlainText and iA Writer. I still can’t decide which one I like best. Probably PlainText. They both have their annoyances. But what they do is create (inside your Dropbox) a plain old .txt file. If I was writing something that I needed to check the research on later, or something that I felt was going to need a polish later, I’d just bang it down in PlainText. Writing in .txt makes me take another look at it before it goes into the manuscript.
* For actual finished work, I open Quickoffice HD Pro, which uses and creates Microsoft Word doc files, which is what I submit manuscripts in. Again, it’s seamless with Dropbox. I can write on the iPad in the main manuscript with full comfort.
* When I’m mobile with iPad-only and I am stuck for research but want to get a thing done — well, I can simply keep Quickoffice running in the background and launch the Evernote app, which is where my book research lives, organised by folder. Or I can launch it on my iPhone, for that matter, because where I go, the phone goes, and when I’n writing it’s usually propped next to the work machine anyway, picking up messages, playing a podcast and/or running a news stream of some kind. (Twitter, or Reedlines, or similar.)
* Why do I do this? I’ve always hated lugging laptops around, and have always looked for efficient mobile solutions. I had one of those early Asus netbooks. I had a Treo. Hell, in the 90s, I had a Handspring Visor. And I figured that since the iPad was light, instant-on, built for wifi and supposedly fucking magical, I should be able to make it work as a mobile work solution without having to screw around with laptops and crappy batteries and all the rest of it. In the mornings, I just grab the iPad and case and go out into the back garden and sit at the table and am ready to go. I go back to the office, wake up the laptop, and thanks to Dropbox everything I’ve done is already there. It works for me.