Five years from now.
Ten in the morning. I’ve finished my coffee and morning blogging at the kitchen table with the television news muttering in the background.
I head on upstairs to my office, with my small hybrid computer, a form factor with an 11 inch screen running Windows 11, that weighs about a pound, and runs for 24 hours on battery. As soon as I walk into the room, the 40 inch screen hanging above my desktop senses the presence of my computer and fires up.
“Morning, Bill. How are you today?” a mellifluous voice issues from the big speakers flanking the desk.
I settle myself in my classic Eames manager’s chair, and adjust the height of the desk to a more comfortable position. When I’m settled in, I put my little hybrid on a corner of the desk, where an LED on its top indicates that it now has full HD and broadband connectivity with the big screen, the keyboard, and the mouse I prefer to use. And the internet, of course.
“Where would you like to start today?” the voice asks?
“Where I left off,” I say. The screen suddenly depicts my Scrivener app, with the various windows laid out with the current scene I’m working on in my new novel. Arrayed around Scrivener are other windows containing reference tools – an online dictionary, Wikipedia, the Urban Dictionary, Google Earth and Maps (for researching locations), and so on.
“Copy-edit that scene,” I say.
The Scrivener window enlarges, with several words and sentences highlighted. The first one blinks. It’s a bit of description referring to the curly red hair of one of my characters.
“You’ve previously mentioned that this character’s hair is styled in a buzz cut. Did something change?” the voice says.
I sigh. “No. Change that to “the top of his head looked like a fuzzy red pool ball.”
The change appears.
I chat with my editor as I review what I wrote the previous day. When I finish, I pull my keyboard into position.
“New scene,” I tell the machine. And I begin to type. Occasionally, I’ll stop typing and start talking. The editor is smart enough to pick up that I am continuing input, but I’m using voice instead of a keyboard.
I pause, staring at the screen, and then I say, “What does the 800 block of Smith Street in Brownsville, Texas, look like?”
Another window opens with a panoramic view from one end of that block. “Middle of the block,” I say, and as I finish, the camera view has changed. “Focus and enlarge the house numbers.”
The picture changes once again. “Okay,” I say, and the screen goes blank.
I use a house number that doesn’t exist on that street, because I don’t want to use the address of a real person.
“Let me see that again,” I say. The window fills up with the same view.
I use the descriptions of two houses as color for my description of my fictional house, melding two real homes into one fantasy residence.
At one point my agent video-Skypes in, her face appearing on the screen after I okay the incoming call.
“I’ve changed the outline a little,” I tell her. “You want to see?”
“Send it to me. I’ll take a look later. Anything major?”
“No, not really.”
“You still on track to hit the deadline?”
“I think so. Let me check.” I say, “Hey, Scrivener, how’m I doing on deadline?”
The editor calculates several different production metrics from the previous work I’d done, which, given that the manuscript is halfway complete, are now quite accurate, and says, “First draft should be complete about a week early.”
My agent hears that, and says, “Excellent. Give me a call later. I’ve got some ideas for your next one.”
“Will do,” I tell her. We end the call, and I return to work.
After another couple of hours, I’ve completed ten new pages. It’s time for lunch. I grab my computer and leave the office. As soon as I go through the door, everything behind me shuts down.
Another day, another dollar in the brave new world of writing.