Burning the cakes by Jan Needle
I sometimes feel that I'm not very helpful in this blog. Some posts by other people are full of information and suggestions, more likely to be to do with how and what to write than baking scones. I don't know if I'm meant to dispense handy tips from whatever imagined reservoir of expertise I might be supposed to have (non-clumsy sentences being at the end of that list, judging from that one!) But a couple of nights ago I had a revelation, and I'm going to share it with you. Pin back your lug’oles!
|Trying to look serious for once|
I was galvanised by my sudden in-bed revelation. Within seconds (I'm a novelist, remember, so I may be lying) I was at my computer, with the novel I’m working on stuck on the desktop. Selecting a bookmark on my Kindle, I was able to locate a specific place in my MS, do a bit of thinking, and then rewrite.
One sticky bit so dealt with, I went on to the next bookmark. Same deal. Locate it, match it, contemplate, revise. I had about fifty bookmarks, which would have taken me about a month if I tried to track them down from written notes. Genius! Let Mr Kindle's fingers do the walking for you.
Actually, if you've got very nimble fingers, it can be even easier. When you have your novel, or whatever, as a document on your computer, you can send it straight onto your Kindle as an email. You do this by putting it on to your desktop, then sending it as an attachment. To find your Kindle email address go to settings, and it’s there.
Then you can flip between the annotated textbook (also on your Kindle) and your novel/document, match the notes to the page you want to alter, and Bob's your uncle.
Going to the south of France on holiday? Stupid or neurotic enough to take your work in progress with you? Congenitally incapable of taking lots of luggage, up to and including a laptop? Just stick everything on your Kindle beforehand, and jet out to the sunshine.
That's where the nimble fingers might come in, of course. Doing major rewrites on my Stone Age, bog standard Kindle would not be much fun. But some of them have proper keyboards, I believe. And the capacity’s enormous! It’ll take your manuscript in every draft you’ve ever written, all your notes, all your textbooks, everything. A full-scale writing factory, five inches by four by three-sixteenths or so. Some people, I understand, can even say that in metric. Show-offs.
There is another way for fruitful holidaymaking, naturally. Don't take work with you. When push comes to shove, I think that might be my preferred option. More time for making scones.
While we're on technicalities, incidentally, I've just had a most extraordinary experience. One of my novels, without my knowledge or consent, was sent out to a copy editor trained in America (I can only imagine) pre-publication.
Doing my final read-through, I found my book had been re-punctuated, words had been changed, words the editor found obscure had simply been deleted, and almost every sentence-rhythm had been altered. It was like reading something written by another person, and I was arrogant enough to prefer my own.
|Not France, Turkey. But still looking pretty good!|
Even odder, when I wrote a letter pointing all this out, I felt not only strangely precious, but pompous too.
I think I need that holiday in France!