Since getting my Kindle Touch* this last Christmas, I’ve been having fun exploring some of the more esoteric features of the device. I already knew it was an excellent reading tool. What I’ve discovered is that is a useful tool for writing as well.
Going Paperless with Critiques
I love my writing group, but as their specialization is novels, some months I wound up printing over a hundred pages in order to do my critiques. I just can’t read long documents on a regular computer screen.
Having a Kindle changed all that. It’s fairly easy to send personal documents to your ereader. You can convert them yourself using a program like Calibre. Or, in the case of Kindles, you can send documents to your ereader by using your email@example.com mailing address. Amazon then converts your personal documents and sends them to your Kindle.
I found that I loved using highlights and notes to mark up a document on my Kindle. During meetings of my critique group, I could then view all those notes at once on my Kindle, and discuss them. Or if I wanted to port them into a word document that I could email to others, I could use the Clippings Converter.
The novel that I am working on is set in 1836. When I started on it, I had a thick paper file of photocopied material and research notes that I had to lug with me when I was working on my story.
Since most of my source material is public domain, I have enjoyed downloading them from Google Books, or finding them on websites and converting them into files for my Kindle. Using collections, I can organize the material into groupings, and with notes and highlights access in a flash everything relevant within a longer work. I’ve also transferred to Kindle my personal documents with research notes, time lines, and character biographies.
Using the text-to-speech option on your ereader can be pretty annoying, but it’s great if you want to catch errors in your manuscripts before submitting them. The mechanical voice will not fill in missing words, and it will force you to find all those extra adverbs littering your manuscript.
Okay, so that’s how I use my ereader as a writing tool. How are you using it? Have you found fun and unusual uses for it? Got any favorite apps to share?
Tell us! We’d love to hear them.
* I mention the Kindle Touch because that is the ereader that I own. Many of the features that I mention are available on other devices, though you may need other techniques to access them. If you have a Nook or some other device that you use as a writing tool, tell us about it in the comments!