I am currently in the revision phase of a book that I wrote two years ago, well closer to three years ago. I started writing it during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) in November 2010. I finished it in May and June of the following year and received a free proof copy for my hard work. I love my proof copies, they are so pretty and they have my name on them. I remember crying when I saw the first one, it’s just an amazing thing. But I am getting off track here, anyway, for the last two plus years I have tried on and off to rewrite this story. It needs some serious rewrites because anything written during NaNo is going to have some blah, blah, blah parts because you are just trying to get words on the page.
During July’s Camp NaNo I reapplied myself to making revisions. According to the good people at NaNo they count every hour of editing as 1,000 words. My word count goal was 20,000 words which equals 20 hours of editing. Sounds easy, right? As it turns out, not so much on the easy. I knew going in that I needed to change the beginning, there was too much lead up and I really needed to get things moving sooner. Ok, so I had a plan and I again I thought ‘this will be easy’. I got about two pages in and realized this was going to be a bit more complicated. The timeline needed to be changed, a character that had several scenes in the original version was down to one scene that wasn’t very important, scene locations had to be moved as the story evolved and the list goes on. The biggest realization was that it had been so long since I’d written the book that I couldn’t remember the sequence of some of the smaller events. Even worse I didn’t have a handle on the characters anymore. I remembered what they looked like and what they did but that was two dimensional I needed to refresh myself on how they talked and felt and all of that other three dimensional stuff. Clearly, I needed to read the book.
Now I have a proof copy that I could read and make notes in, but honestly the thought of writing in a book horrifies me. I don’t know if it was my Catholic school upbringing or my OCD mentality or my over all affinity with books but I have never been comfortable making notes, highlighting or making any sort of permanent marks in a book. We were encouraged to do so in several classes during college, I tried it for about a week but I had to really talk myself into it every single time that it was taking me forever to get my reading done. I finally resorted to using sticky notes and removable flags and that was a good compromise. I guess my point here is that I’ve got a pretty proof copy and I don’t want to write in it.
I could print out the 200 plus pages but not my favorite idea either. Reading from a stack of 8.5 by 11″ paper would not be comfortable and it would feel like I was grading papers. I, also didn’t want to spend $20 on the ink and paper it would take to print the darned thing out. The other thing to think about was the fact that there was no guarantee that I wouldn’t end up feeling the same way about making notes on the clean copy of the story.
After a good three days of himming, hawwing and occasional whining in Sully’s general direction I had an idea. Didn’t I read somewhere about side loading stuff (books, documents, etc.) onto my Kindle? A quick check of Google revealed that I did in fact read about this and with the help of the Calibre program it would be pretty easy.
Loading my book onto the Kindle was super easy and I couldn’t stifle the giddy giggle that bubbled up when I saw my book and my name on my Kindle book list. I just finished the first chapter and I have already figured out several things to fix the timeline and the character/scene problems. There’s a note feature on the Kindle so I can just click a button and then type in a few words. My notebook is also with me so that I can make more detailed notes and keep an eye on the timeline. I am actually very excited to get started on these changes.