Paper Based Writing - on Computers

Interesting article is available here:

Paper entitled “Informing the design of a page-based writing tool through longitudinal and naturalistic case studies”

Very interesting…

From the sounds of it, Scrivener is partway there, in having the document split into multiple files and the ability to have a split screen and notes.

I hadn’t realized just how much of our 3-dimensional spatial memory we used when dealing with writing on paper, though!


There is an application called Curio that, if you have a digital tablet, is especially adept at accessing this sort of spatial memory. It makes adding elements to the page in a organic fashion easy, and drawing is as simple as on paper. Like a sentence? Circle it, draw a line out, and then in a text box explain why.

I never liked writing in Curio, because the program has a lot of overhead and doesn’t feel creative to me, but as far as editing goes, I really liked it because when I edit I think best with a pen or pencil in hand, where I can draw out relationships, doodle in the margin, and just be plain messy if I want.

Curio has the same problem that all applications with a drawing layer do. If you edit the underlying text, the drawn lines do not move with the text. Some day this might be possible. If you could draw “pinned” strokes which move with the text beneath it, and “connective” strokes that are like OmniGraffle lines between “pinned” regions, it could possibly work. But for now, Curio is good as a brainstormer, not an editing platform – spatially speaking anyway.