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On Wednesday, June 23, Seton Hill University distributed an iPad to every full-time Writing Popular Fiction graduate student during the program’s summer residency.

According to Mary Ann Gawelek, provost and dean of faculty, “This [iPad] will be particularly helpful for students aspiring to be writers. The mobile technology provides access to information from anywhere and at anytime. Additionally, the writer can work when an image or event stimulates a story idea.”

“Writers are notorious for being struck with inspiration on the fly,” said Michael Arnzen, associate professor of English and chair of the Division of Humanities. “Having a mobile writing pad like an iPad makes it easy for a writer to swiftly jot down ideas for their latest chapter, research answers to questions online and even write scenes and chapters, no matter where they are.”

The iPad is a portable filing cabinet for the Writing Popular Fiction students according to Albert Wendland, professor of English and director of the Writing Popular Fiction Program.

“Every writer, when starting a long project, like a novel, collects an assortment of information, research, prompts and inspiration,” said Wendland. “Whether these are books, articles, pictures or quotes, they help the writer bring destiny and depth to the project. Usually these are kept in scrapbooks, filing cabinets or desktop computers. Now, they can all be kept in a much more portable unit, an iPad. This will provide immediate inspiration.”

Additionally, Arnzen sees the iPad as an immediate opportunity to market a novel.
“I have already loaded photos of my book covers on my iPad and will display it when I do book signings,” said Arnzen.

Through the various applications that can be added to the iPad, Wendland notes that the Writing Popular Fiction student can upload his/her manuscript and review it any time and also read other student writings from their own critique groups and workshops. Arnzen also plans to have his students work with the iPad application to inspire writing activities.

“By this time next year, I think it will be second nature for students to use it [iPad] as part of their daily lives,” said Arnzen. “Writers need to understand the ebook market as part of the realm of popular fiction, and the iPad gives them the opportunity to learn about it.”