Google Docs apparently has some nifty features that few people know about. Quoting my blog:
So, apparently Google Documents will let you edit a document with peers (as editors or observers) that you invite, and you can open a chat room that contains yourself and all the peers.In other words, Google Docs works as a LifeStream for writers, with chat. Basically, you can watch a writer write as he writes, and if you want to ask a question or say something, you can. Writers can collaborate on a single piece at one time if the host gives the other person permission to edit the document. Or, two people can examine a document together and critique it. All that's necessary is that the writer either make his documents public or that he distributes the URL of his Docs session to those that he wants to sit in.
Of course, with the LiveStream application, it's bad because it could be distracting to the writer, but a bit of discretion on the part of both writer and viewers can prevent it from getting too bad. And if all else fails, you can just disable the chat.
Methinks this could potentially be very interesting, because you can effectively see exactly how someone writes, and it could be of great help. It could be bad, too, but I think it'd probably be good more often than it'd be bad... but I suppose that depends on how you use it. I.e., you definitely don't want your editor in the room with you while you write the first draft.8/12/2010 . Edited 8/12/2010 #1
Google Docs are fantastic for a lot of things. It makes it easy for multiple people to compile and edit information in one place. It's incredibly convenient for a lot more things than you'd think.
But I don't know about for writing. It's more about the thought process than the physical act of writing I think. And unless the person is literally typing out their stream of consciousness, (which might get scary depending on who it is) I don't think watching someone type is going to very helpful or inspirational. But that's just me.
The critiquing aspect I can see though. It would be helpful to be able to read the document and chat at the same time. Same with the collaboration. But eh, I'm not expecting any revolutions over it.
I think the writing aspect of it can be useful, because you can see what kinds of decisions the writer makes, or doesn't make, as he works. It's pretty much the same as LiveStream for artists, because even though you don't have access to the source from which the words are coming (i.e., the author's head), you still get to see how the author constructs the draft. And that includes the on-the-fly decision-making, like writing out a part, then deciding that the story will work better if something else happens instead. The bad is that it'll be slow. Lots of slow.
(To be honest, I think sitting in on an editing session would be much more enlightening, but that's not likely to happen around here.)8/12/2010 #3
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