Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let your e-reader save your eyes

I know that many of you aren't sold on e-readers yet. There are various pros and cons, but we aren't going to wade through that quagmire today. Instead, I'm going to tell you an awesome feature of e-readers that doesn't involve reading books. And no, it's not games.

Right now I'm entering editing mode. The first thing I always do before tackling a major edit (after leaving my work to marinate for a while) is to re-read it. It's really helpful to go over everything one more time before whipping out the red pen and making things bleed. That way I don't accidentally try to cut important information or develop a plot point that is better trashed. Doing a once-over helps me visualize the work as a whole.

But, as many of you know, re-reading a manuscript on the computer is an eyestrain nightmare. Blame your LCD screen. Why? Because computer screens are shifted towards the blue end of the color spectrum, which also happens to be the end that our eyes have the most trouble focusing on. Your eyes have to work harder than normal and it causes all sorts of painful nightmares.

Eyestrain and I know each other very well. We are at war. But this time I won the battle.

To avoid reading all 102,000 words of my draft on my laptop I transferred the entire thing to my Kindle. Not only is it cool seeing your words as an e-book, you won't be sucked into the black hole of over-eager editing, and you won't get blinding computer headaches. Yay!
Those words on the Kindle? Yeah, those are totally mine.
I'm not sure about the Nook or other e-readers, but if you have a Kindle this is pretty easy to do. You can follow the helpful instructions at Amazon or use Calibre to convert documents and keep them organized. It's all pretty simple and it's definitely worth the effort.

How many of you guys have e-readers? Have any of you read manuscripts on them, or do you just focus on published works? If you don't have an e-reader, is this the kind of feature that might sway your opinion on them? Tell me in the comments.


Birgit said...

That's a great idea!! I have a non-name eReader and uploading a PDF file is no problem. Plus, like you mentioned, Calibre is a great site for converting different formats!
I have to say that, so far, I only use it to read all those galleys that would otherwise make me go blind reading them on the computer screen. I do have the intention to upload my drafts on it too though.

Sara Reine said...

Great idea! I do the same thing, except I have a Kindle 2 and you have a pretty black new Kindle. Boo! So jealous.

The note taking feature is great for critiquing other writers' manuscripts, too.

Sarah Robertson said...

It's good to hear that the process is easy on other e-readers too. I love how Calibre makes working with e-books so easy.

And sweet! I wasn't aware that you could actually put galleys on an e-reader like that. Now if I ever get any I can avoid my eyes melting. :)

Sarah Robertson said...

Aww, the Kindle 2 isn't so bad. *hugs*

I never thought of using the note feature. You've just made this about a thousand times better. :3

Jackie said...

This is a really great idea! But, I'm kind of curious, when you want to make a change to particular passage, do you just write yourself a note on a piece of loose leaf or something? It's hard for me to fathom revising something without it being on paper and in front of me. I know that's also not ideal for 100,000+ word pieces of work.

This is something I should consider doing in the future. That is if I ever get around to writing all the stories in my head. I need discipline (by the way, totally just tried to spell "discipline" as "dispiplce")!

Sarah Robertson said...

I did make a couple notes, but only a few times when I had an idea that I was afraid I was going to forget. But I can't handle making major edits unless I'm writing them down, so I actually have a printed out copy of my story. It's a glorious 371 pages that I'm going to be doing the actual edits on. :)

And you! Go forth and write! * whip crack*

Brenna Braaten said...

I really like this idea. Too bad I don't have an e-reader to use when I actually finish my manuscript. And I didn't know the actual cause of eyestrain. Interesting. . .

Oh, and my first question was totally, I wonder of those words in her picture are actually hers. I'm glad they were.

Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, my pictures are hardcore to the max! >:D

But yeah. Maybe you'll get an e-reader eventually. Supposedly Amazon is going to start giving them away for free (, not to mention the cheaper and cheaper models (;1n).

Post a Comment