Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another Writerly Use for e-Readers

Reading my manuscript on the Kindle is enlightening. It looks just like Handcuffs or Bloom--which makes me read it differently than when it's in Microsoft Word or even printed on plain old 8.5 x 11 paper. The Kindle version also boasts some weird formatting issues--proof that I’m unsure when to use hard returns and when to use soft returns, and furthermore, to be honest, proof that I don't know what the hell hard and soft returns are.

Since so many agents are reading our manuscripts on e-readers these days, it’s probably a good idea for all of us aspiring authors to learn these formatting rules. You don't want your beautiful manuscript showing up on an agent's e-reader looking sloppy.

The one hassle of reading your manuscript on an e-reader ends up being a good thing. I have a problem with reading my novel the way an outsider (read: not me) would read it. I keep wanting to stop and change "quiet" to "calm," or now that I’ve been reading the editing blog edittorrent, take out all of the PPPs, or just rewrite the page (the book?) altogether because bleh, but I can’t do it on the Kindle. I’m forced to keep reading.

I'm happy to report that while reading, I feel tension and wonder what will happen next, even though I know damn well what will happen. So in that way, I’m more in tune with how a reader receives the story. Totally valuable.

So tell me, how do you get distance from your own writing?


  1. I'm so happy that you're loving your Kindle!!! I love these same features.

    And let me just say that Edittorent has helped me so much with my writing and grammar. If/when I ever get published, they will have a shoutout in the acknowledgements. They're amazing! (And how knew PPP were so bad? And that I used them without realizing it?)

  2. Thanks for the edittorrent plug, I hadn't discovered it yet.

    Also, I can't distance myself from my work effectively. I have an internal editor that never shuts off and majorly helps me make my work better, but there is nothing like sending it off to my freelance editor and hearing how she read/interpreted it.