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Taking Notes on Your Kindle – and Finding Them Again by Kitty Bucholtz

February 9, 2018 by in category It's Worth It, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

In November 2017, I wrote about how you can send nearly any kind of text-based document to your Kindle. A couple weeks ago, a friend told me she’s taking an overseas trip and she was considering printing out her current work-in-progress so she can at least get some editing done on the plane. I suggested she send her Word doc to her Kindle instead. She wouldn’t have to worry about losing pages, and her luggage would be a little lighter.

When she asked me how she would do edits, I realized I haven’t actually written an article about that yet! Here are my thoughts.

First, I use my Kindle to read. I don’t plan to make it my next editing tool. That being said, if I’m reading a friend’s book and see a typo, I want to tell them about it so they can make the correction and re-upload. In the same manner, reading my final manuscript on my Kindle can help me to see errors I missed because now I am reading the book as a reader. Errors aside, I also like to highlight my favorite bits in a novel sometimes, and helpful passages in nonfiction books so I can come back to them later.

I own a Kindle Paperwhite, so I’ll explain how to do everything on that or on the Kindle app on my iPhone. You’ll have to check how to do things differently if you own a different Kindle or use the Kindle app elsewhere. (I’d think it would all be very similar.)

Highlighting

If I want to highlight a passage on a Paperwhite or using the Kindle app on my phone, I press and hold on the first word I want to highlight until it lights up then drag my finger to the last word I want to highlight. On my phone, it automatically highlights. On my Paperwhite, it highlights but brings up a menu asking me if I want to just highlight, or add a note, or sometimes you can look things up in Wikipedia if your Kindle is connected to the Internet, and other menu items may also be available. (If you highlight a single word, the Kindle assumes you want to look that word up in the onboard dictionary.)

To get rid of that highlighting using the phone app, tap on the highlighted portion again, then tap on the highlight color with the X in it. That will delete your highlighting. If you tap on a different color, it just turns your highlighted color (yellow by default) to the other color.

To get rid of the highlighting using the Paperwhite, tap on the highlighted portion again, then tap on “Delete” in the little menu that pops up.

Notes

Once you’ve highlighted something, you can add notes pertaining to the highlighted bit. On the phone, tap the highlighted portion, then when you see the little menu, tap on the square with the pencil (supposed to look like paper and pencil). A new screen opens that says “Create Note” at the top. Type in whatever you want, then hit Save. Now at the end of the highlighted portion is a tiny little page. That’s your reminder that you have a note there.

On the Paperwhite, it’s similar. You can add the note as soon as you add the highlighting by choosing “Note” from the menu after you press and drag to highlight. A “Note” screen pops up where you can type what you want. Tap Save, and you’ll see a little superscript number at the end of the highlighted portion kind of like what you see for footnotes in textbooks.

To read these notes, tap on the highlighted portion, tap on the Note in the menu, and you can read what you wrote. You can also delete or change the note at this time.

But Why?

If you send your manuscript to your Kindle in a .doc or other text file, highlighting and making notes about things you want to fix or change can be very helpful. As I mentioned, I also like to tell my friends about any typos they’ll want to fix. And when reading nonfiction, I highlight and make notes for the same reasons I would in a paper book – to remind myself of how to do something, or remember to come back to this passage later.

How Do I Get My Notes Back?

Obviously, hitting the page-forward button over and over through a 400-page book would be way too annoying to find all of your marks. But Kindle created a “My Clippings” text file for you and it saves everything you highlight or notate from any book on your Kindle. Yay!

For any ebook that the Kindle recognizes as such (I don’t know if you have to have purchased it from Amazon or not), your notes and highlights show up at https://read.amazon.com/notebook

Unfortunately, the manuscript you sent to your Kindle (possibly using the Send to Kindle app 😉 ) does not show up in your online notebook. (At least, I don’t see mine.) So you have to download your My Clippings file from your Kindle to your computer.

To do this, connect your Kindle power cord with the USB plug on the end to a USB port on your computer. Once it’s connected, your computer will see the Kindle like it would a flash drive. Click on Kindle, then Documents, then scroll down to My Clippings.txt and double-click to open. In that text file, you will find everything you’ve highlighted (probably since you purchased your Kindle). You can now save that file on your computer.

My Clippings.txt from my Kindle

Sending Your Notes to Your Friend

Using my friend Debra Mullins’ book Kerrigan’s Law as an example, this is what I do when I find any typos in a friend’s book. I open My Clippings, then cut and paste the notes that refer to that book into a new document.

Each highlight is listed in My Clippings by location number. If it also has a note, it is listed again at that location number with the note you typed. For instance, I highlighted a typo, then wrote “typo” in the note section. Here is what it looks like in My Clippings:

Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Highlight on Location 434-434 | Added on Sunday, December 3, 2017 10:33:42 PM

How to we make that happen?”
==========
Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Note on Location 434 | Added on Sunday, December 3, 2017 10:34:07 PM

Typo

Now I can cut and paste my highlights and notes into a new document or an email and send it to Deb. I try to highlight enough text so she can search for it and find it fairly easily. The location number will only give her a vague idea of where it is, but it helps. For instance, location 434 is very early on in the book.

Since I’d found a typo and knew I’d send it to Deb, I couldn’t help but highlight a portion that made me laugh out loud to send to her, too. 😉

Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Highlight on Location 1383-1384 | Added on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 1:18:20 PM

our old sheriff, Charlie Norris,
==========
Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Note on Location 1383 | Added on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 1:18:34 PM

LOL

(You get it – Chuck Norris? LOL! 😀 )

Using the Kindle Notebook Website

I only discovered the notes showing up on your own “notebook” page today when researching a question I had for this article. (Here’s the 2015 article I found mentioning it.) I couldn’t find Deb’s book in my “notebook,” so I played around with another book I had on my Kindle, Only a Hero Will Do by Alanna Lucas.

Example from my “Notebook”

You can see that I highlighted part of a sentence, then added a note, “Here is a note on that highlighted passage.”

I went through the books showing up in my My Clippings document and compared them to what showed up in my online “notebook.” I could be wrong, but it looks like Amazon only recognizes books I purchased from them. Anything I “side loaded” or used Send to Kindle to get onto my Kindle seems to not show up in the Notebook. Just a little FYI. So to get your notes for those books, you’ll have to download the file from your Kindle to your computer as I mentioned above.

Editing Your Own Books on Your Kindle

Bringing this around full circle, I told my friend Janice that she can load her current WIP onto her Kindle and take it with her on the plane. She won’t be able to make changes to the document, but she can highlight bits and write notes like, “Need more tension here” or “Potentially better ending could be…”

Loading your final manuscript to your Kindle and reading it through before you upload it to publish can also be one of your last proofreads. You can highlight a section and add the note “is should be it,” etc. One note on this – highlight enough, even a whole sentence, so that you can find it again in your document by doing a search.

I hope you found this information useful. I’ve really loved opening My Clippings occasionally to remind myself of all the cool stuff I wanted to remember from nonfiction ebooks I own. Learn from my mistake, though: when you trade in an old Kindle and get a new one, download the My Clippings file from the old Kindle first! Once you no longer have access to the Kindle, you no longer have access to the file. Darn!

Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. She loves to teach and offer advice to writers through her WRITE NOW! Workshop courses and the new WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast.

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Online Class: Make Your Writing Shine through Self-Editing

April 18, 2017 by in category Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

self-editing class badge

Make Your Writing Shine Through Self-Editing
with Linda Carroll-Bradd

Class Dates: May 15 – May 26 (two-week class)

http://occrwa.org/classes/may-online-class/

Learn how to identify shallow POV and make it deeper.
Learn how to change your writing from Telling to Showing.
Want to perk up the pace of your prose?
Need help pinpointing weak spots in your writing style?

This workshop will provide tips to help you tighten your sentence and paragraph structure to make your writing shine! Through the use of checklists, topical lectures and structured writing/revision exercises for each lesson, I supply tangible examples of what to look for and how to fix it. You’ll get interactive assistance from freelance editor and award-winning author, Linda Carroll-Bradd.

Linda Carroll-Bradd

Linda Carroll-Bradd

About the Instructor:

The years Linda Carroll-Bradd spent working in secretarial positions paid off when she ventured into writing fiction. Along her writer journey, she put her skills with spelling, grammar, and punctuation to use and edited other authors’ manuscripts—first with just friends and then friends of friends. In 2012, she formalized the process and Lustre Editing was created. Linda has a clientele that includes USA Today and NY Times bestselling authors and has worked on all subgenres of romance, plus narrative nonfiction, memoir, middle grade fiction, and police procedural novels.

Married with four adult children, she now lives in the southern California mountains with two beloved dogs. In addition to working as a freelance editor, she is the author of more than 50 contemporary and historical stories that range from heartwarming to erotic (written under pen name Layla Chase).

Class fees: $20.00 for OCC members & $30.00 for non-members.

Link to join the class: http://occrwa.org/classes/may-online-class/

If you have questions, send a query to OCCRWAOnlineClass@yahoo.com.

Here’s a list of the rest of the 2017 schedule of classes:

June 12 – July 7: Horse Sense with Shannon Donnelley

August 14 – Sept. 8:  Monster Revisions with Suzanne Johnson

Oct. 16 – Nov. 10: Time Management Secrets for Authors with Stacy Juba

Nov. 13 – Dec. 8 – The Feminine Journey with Mary O’Gara

 

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You Can Edit Your Own Work by Connie Vines

July 13, 2016 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , , , ,
‘Do I really need to hire a professional editor?’

When you are busy writing your first draft, you can definitely edit your own work.  An editor is usually brought in only when you have a complete manuscript. Whether you’re at an early stage of writing your novel or you can’t afford to hire an editor at present, you can learn to edit your own work. Begin these 6 easy steps:
1. Take a break
This break in between the time that you finish your novel and the time that you return to it for editing is essential for several reasons.
During the time that you are apart from your novel, your subconscious will still be working on it. You will be surprised at the types of connections that you’ll make on returning to the work. If you are a writer who edits as you go, taking small breaks between finishing sections like this can also help. Thus resulting in the growth of fresh story ideas.
Distance from the work allows you re-read with a fresh perspective. On returning to your novel, you will be surprised to find passages that you don’t remember writing; passages that affect you emotionally as though someone else were the author. I call this the ‘goosebumps’ factor (remember the scene in Romancing the Stone?  If not, rent the movie).
With this re-read you will find weaknesses, plot holes, sentence structure that simply doesn’t flow, etc.   Assessing your book realistically is easier after a break as well. While in the process of writing it, you probably experienced times when you thought you were writing an extraordinary novel as well as times of great self-doubt. Now your judgement will not be clouded.
Try not to think about your novel very much during your break (work on one of my other WsIP). If something does occur to you, make a note to come back to when you start your revision. Do not dwell on your new ideas. Calendar your re-read a week or two after completion of your novel. 
2.    Get organized
  • When you sit down to do your revision, you must first get organized both physically and mentally.

Prepare your work-space. Have your writing reference resources within reach.    
Make a schedule for your revision just as you did for writing your novel. Set a goal and stick to it. Do you need a tracking system? Sticky notes? Spreadsheets, a notebook with sections and multicolored pens/highlighters, or a filing drawer?
Whatever planning you did prior to writing your novel, when you revise you will need to track things such as structure, characters, scenes and plot points to ensure that they all fit together. During your revision, you’ll need to do things like examine each scene to ensure that it moves your novel forward and does what it sets out to do. Your system can be as formal or informal as you like. The most important thing is that any editing system you use is intuitive for you and helps rather than hinders you.
3.    Develop a plan
You should make yourself a checklist for dealing with all the large and small issues you want to examine over the course of your novel. A romance novel, will have one thread showing the progression of the love story.  A crime novel, will require clues are appropriately placed and reveal just enough to the reader. While science fiction or fantasy, will require world-building that is very solid.
4.    Questions to ask yourself
·         Does the book work structurally? If you followed some version of the three-act structure, did you maintain that structure and does it create a satisfying form?
·         Does your plot make sense? What about the subplots? Are there any logical errors? Do the subplots work with the plot, or do they distract from it or make the book seem like too much is happening?

·         Are your characters well-developed? Do they seem like they could exist as flesh and blood? Do they behave in ways that are plausible for them?
·         How is your setting? Is it fully realized? Does it need more or less detail? Is it integral to the story?

·         Are there places in the book where the narrative seems to drag?
·         Do you deliver information to your readers in a way that is engaging?
·         How is your prose? Are your sentences grammatically correct?

This is just a start; you will have your own questions you’ll want to consider. Once you’ve made your plan, it’s time to start the actual revision:

5.    Make multiple passes
Editing is seldom a one-step process. First do a read through. Make notes, about problems, new ideas, structure, language problems. Don’t stop reading and begin revising.  Just make notes.
Next, go through the book more carefully and address the major elements. (# 3) Use your checklists to look at plot, structure, character, setting and the other major parts of your novel. If you find that you are going to be doing major rewrites, you should work on those rewrites before you do any line editing.
After addressing any major issues and completed your line editing, take a look at your prose. It’s now time to read your book out loud. This may seem time-consuming, but nothing compares to reading a piece of fiction out loud for finding clunky phrasings, repetitions and other things that just don’t work (if I’m not careful, my characters spend too much time drinking coffee).
6.     Get feedback

The final step in your revision is having others read your work. You may already have writing friends or belong to a writing group. Some writers(I) find it useful to ask my reader(s) to focus on certain aspects of the book. Remember readers who are not writers notice things, both views are valuable.  

The value of having others look over your work is that they will spot mistakes or inconsistencies you might miss because you are so immersed in the craft of writing.
Editing and revising are not separate from the process of writing. They are just as important as writing drafts. Editing and revising will sharpen and strengthen your novel.  After all, we want our novel to be ‘exactly’ a publisher has been waiting to acquire.
Happy Writing,
Connie Vines


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