We’re nearing the end of my series on Essential Tools for Writers. On Tuesday, I showed you how I use Scrivener. Yesterday, I told you about my love for Evernote.
Today, I want to share a two of my favorite tools for writing and editing on-the-go. Keep in mind that neither one was made for writing nor editing.
This is where things get a little weird. You’ve been warned.
What is a reading device doing on my list of essential writing tools?
I’ve said that I do the majority of my writing in Scrivener, but if “writing is rewriting” (and for me, truer words were never spoken) my Kindle is my rewriting best friend.
Here’s why: At some point, I want to read my story like a reader, not like a writer.
So I edit on the device I use for reading.
Something magical happens when I see my work-in-progress on an eReader. Typos fly off the screen. Sentences that I loved when I read them on a laptop no longer make any sense.
Dialogue that I thought sang suddenly sounds stilted or out of character or just plain lame. The whole story just sounds different.
Want to give it a try? Here’s what I do:
I send a chunk of my manuscript—usually 5-6 chapters—to my Kindle (just use your Kindle email address, it works like a charm).
As I read, I highlight chunks of text that need attention, and type in something short like “huh?” or “awk” or “DB,” which is my shorthand for, “This ain’t bad, but you can ‘Do Better’.”
When I’m done, I bring my Kindle back to my desk and put it in “View Notes and Highlights” mode. Then I go though every edit, page by page, and start fixing the ugly stuff directly in my manuscript.
That’s it. Nothing fancy. Definitely a work-around. But it’s one that works well for me.
I’ve gone through three Kindles in the last four years. Not that they aren’t durable, I just take mine everywhere. I lost one to a bathtub drop (TMI?). My current one is filled with sand.
Speaking of writing everywhere...
I spend a lot of my day at my desk, but I don’t stop writing just because I leave my chair. I’m often working on a scene while I’m doing the dishes or waiting to pick up my kids or when I wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea.
That’s when I reach for my iPhone.
There are a lot of apps for writing on a smartphone, and I’ve tried many of them. But I keep coming back to the Notes app because it’s easy, secure, and it synchronizes across all my devices.
Many of these are short notes—ideas I don’t want to forget—but some are full-blown scenes and detailed conversations (and thanks to Siri, I can now use my phone to talk to myself. I’m a hit at parties! Kidding. Really.)
Let’s be clear, the stuff I write in my iPhone isn’t good, but it’s a start. When I get to my desk, I copy these rough scenes and paste them into my manuscript where I can give them serious attention.
There are a lot of wonderful tools out there for writing. Scrivener, Evernote, my Kindle and my iPhone are the four I rely on to write, rewrite, and edit. I hope you’ve found some ideas that might be a good fit for your own writing process in this week’s posts.
Tamara Ireland Stone is September's Affiliate Blogger. To find out more about our guest author positions here at the League, click here.
Blissfully married. Occasional superhero in the eyes of two remarkable small people. Animal lover. Avid reader. Gadget freak. Music addict. Dreadful cook. Happily stuck in the mid-90s. She writes young adult fiction about fun stuff like travel, music, romance, and normal people with extraordinary talents.
Her debut novel, Time Between Us, has been published in over twenty countries and has been optioned for film. The companion novel, Time After Time, will be available from Hyperion on October 8, 2013.
Time Between Us
Time After Time
by Tamara Ireland Stone
TIME BETWEEN US & TIME AFTER TIME are companion novels by Tamara Ireland Stone. TIME BETWEEN US, told from Anna's point of view, is available now. TIME AFTER TIME continues the story from Bennett's perspective, and will be available on October 8, 2013.
Time Between Us: Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility. As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time. Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.