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March 2017

Still missing Wylbur

The best word processor I have ever used, now some 30 years ago, was a version of Wylbur that was deployed in a writing lab at Weber State University (nee College).

The biggest differentiator from current word processors is that Wylbur is a line-based editor. (If you've every used TSO, it's like that.) This provided the ability to do something many powerful things, including the ability to print a document broken out into individual sentences. This is a fantastic way to edit and improve your writing. And it's something I do with nearly everything I have written since, accomplished by utilizing a processing script that I've written, and re-written, countless times over the years.

Well, a recent blog post by David Hewson points out that Ulysses has a "typewriter mode" which is capable, mostly, of accomplishing the same thing while editing onscreen. I already adore Ulysses, and now I have another reason to recommend it! (If only the app would now support printing the document in this way I'd have a reason to stop using my special scripts.)

If you haven't tried polishing every single sentence this way, give it a shot. It's not only very satisfying, it also allows you to really focus on what you're trying to convey. Sometimes you really do need to see each tree in the forest.