If you haven’t ever used Google Drive, formerly known as Google Docs, you definitely need to check it out. One of its basic functions is creating word processing documents, similar to those you’d find in Microsoft Word or any related word processing program. There are two major benefits to using Drive over Word, though, for the type of writing we do here at Starbase 118: It’s accessible from anywhere and any device with an internet connection, and it allows collaborative writing in real time. The latter allows a single document to have multiple people editing a document in real time, which means that two or more writers can create a joint post (JP) in the same time it might talk to chat about a JP!
There are many great ways to use Drive’s word processing and sharing capabilities. I started using Drive as a way to write a backstory with another writer. We both liked the idea of our characters having a fling back in their academy days and used Drive to share the ideas and then write those flashback posts — but, of course, Drive’s real-time collaboration isn’t just useful for writing out background; they’re also a great way to build up relationships in the present. For example, I have used Drive with a shipmate to write sims about our characters having tea (like Picard and Crusher) and gossiping about our fellow crewmates. These sims took place in the present, but were an aside from the main plot. I’ve even used Drive to write with characters on other ships. As with any cross-ship JPs, everyone involved posted on their respective lists — but the JPs were so easy to write immediately! Writing with others in Drive not only makes writing JPs faster and easier, it also encourages collaboration, both on your ship and with ships around the fleet, as there’s never been an easier way to write with others.
Drive also facilitates the creation of what I call a “sim bank.” This sim bank is all the in-progress sims in Drive that I’m working on but that I haven’t posted yet. The bank is full of b-plot sims, cross-ship conversations over subspace, backstory sims, and so on that I can share with others and slowly work on, but that aren’t time-sensitive and can be released whenever. As everyone knows, sometimes real life can throw unexpected curves that can make finding the time to sim nearly impossible. A sim bank is a great help during these times to keep your sim rates up. So, when you have the time to write a lot, try to find some other simmers to start working with you on a few long-term JPs in Drive. Not only can you build up your bank, but you will find that you have better development with others and an easier time finding and developing the voices of your characters
So head to Drive, share a document with someone, and get writing. Don’t forget you can “bank” a few for those crazy weeks when you can’t find the time to write!