When Apple bonks writer

imagesMy agent Courtney says that her clients divide into pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants) and planners (who ignore pants and plan). I’m a planner. By necessity. If I had to worry about plot at the same time as all the rest: theme, pacing, character, dialogue, imagery, setting, diction, etc, etc, I’d absolutely short circuit.

So I plan out what happens in each chapter (a couple lines for each), and then flesh out this into a few pages, sort of a list, before starting a new chapter. That way the first draft goes if not quickly, then more quickly.

I was working away, actually with good speed, on chapter 3 of book 4 when suddenly my Apple begins methodically underlining everything. Grammar wrong. Spelling wrong. In one wild paranoid moment, I took this as Apple’s judgement on the whole novel: it wouldn’t work at all. This is distressing.

I calmed down a tad and checked to see if maybe there was a language issue. Indeed, the language had set itself to Italian. Which is spooky since of all the scores of languages that Apple can be judgmental about, Italian is the only one I know. Except that (Hello, Apple!) I’m writing in English. So I select English (US) and set the default English, start writing, the underlining begins again, but now comes the dreaded whirling rainbow circle which means to the non-geek: “I am not responding to you. I don’t care about you. I will NEVER stop whirling.”

I figured I knew what to do. Shut down and start up. Same problem, response, shut down again. The third (or fourth) time, now Apple will be happy with nothing but Dutch. My first book was translated into Dutch. Does Apple know this?

Despondent, confused, a seat-of-the-pants Apple user, I unplugged and packed up the Apple with the idea that my smart friend Melissa I was meeting for lunch would figure this out. But when I started up the Apple in Yassim’s Falafel House, all was fixed. Was it the smell of falafel?

Come home, happy. But no. The same thing. Back to Italian. Very distressed. I will work on my iPad until my husband comes home. Writing is hard enough without an Apple on your case. To be continued.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Posted in Writing
2 comments on “When Apple bonks writer
  1. Holly Laffoon says:

    I hate it when computers think they are smarter than we are …

  2. Yes, I’m plenty frustrated.

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