[2019 Novel] Test Your Tools

The difference between a 2-hour phone call and a 5-minute phone call is a well-written document. How do you arrive at that well-written document? While there are subjective factors that are specific to each industry, how about the more objective factors? Let’s say you’re decently practiced in your preferred writing language’s grammar. Maybe people have even told you that you can write clearly. What tools can help you write a novel or long-form document?

I don’t have any tool sponsorships.

Yet. This is the preamble where I explain that although I mentioned objective factors above, the specific tools I use are just my subjective opinions. As I work with more writers, editors, and professionals, I’ve found and refined more tools that will work for me, so these are just things that have worked well for me.

First, I’ll have two laptops and two smartphones.

I use my smartphone for writing quickly and anywhere. If I can crank out 50 or 200 words while I’m waiting for my shift to start at work, then that’s 1950 or 1800 fewer words I have to worry about against my daily goal. While I prefer writing on a laptop, I only get a few hours of dedicated time with it each day – about two hours before work, two hours after work, and more during my days off, whereas I have my smartphone with me almost everywhere. The backup laptops and smartphones are just in case I find myself with a broken or stolen device. Even in situations like this, I should ideally be operational with minimal concern, other than financial or legal concerns to deal with later.

Second, I’ll have my primary and secondary writing platforms.

I’ve been favorable toward Google Docs [since they control the Internet] since I’ve worked with many professional and non-professional writers and editors that have used the platform for easily sharing documents for viewing or reviewing. My default settings are allowing anyone with the link to have view and comment access with select editors having edit access. That way I can send anyone that’s interested in what I’m currently working on the link to a particular essay or short story, let them read and critique, and almost everything is captured in revision histories so I can credit folks properly based on the effort they contributed to the project. Cloud-based storage also means I don’t have to worry about data lose; much. I may plan to publish everything in one WordPress upload, or at least, in 30 deviantArt posts toward the middle or end of the month.

Third, I’ll have a dumping grounds for ideas.

I’ve used Trello for file and task management because of its convenience. I can upload a photo then save it on a different device. When it comes to fiction writing, I can usually keep all the details together in my head, but having a central repository for these ideas will help. While having one document for character bios is helpful, there’s enough scrolling and formatting to where it can get confusing, and the document was too cumbersome to keep up. I don’t know how I’ll build out this board throughout the month. Right now, I figure it’ll have major reference guides. I’ll probably expand it out to include reference credits, since as much as Eville Medical – the setting for these 30 short stories in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story” – is a figment of my imagination, there are real-world places that I’ve drawn inspiration from to make it all happen.

Fourth, I’ll have my spell checkers.

Between GdocsWordCounter with Grammarly, and WordPress, I can usually catch most major typos. As much as a writer should trust their own sense of writing, if you ever find my triple-Q editorial mark in anything, you’ll know that’s because my thought was interrupted by something mid-sentence just enough to inspire me to press the Q key thrice and I might have lost my place enough to forget to edit it out. Trusting in the machine can sometimes yield good results.

Fifth, I’ll crowd-source my backup editing and proofreading.

Writing and editing are different skills. When I write, I can explore the thoughts as they dart across my brain, and I’m only limited by my mind’s ability to translate those thoughts into comprehensible words. In other words,  I write fast and edit slow. When I edit, I’ll conversely read like I’m a novice that’s trying to understand the topic. Since the ideas are from my imagination, it’s difficult to remove yourself from that imagination, which is why it’s easier to edit your own material only after enough time to which you’ve forgotten what you’ve written, so you can approach it with fresh eyes. I don’t think I can do that in a month, and since my intentions are to produce a large body of fiction in 30 days, rather than strictly publishing a novel for NaNoWriMo, I think having backup editors and readers would be acceptable.

My main editor, J.D., is a fast editor. Since I tell everyone I meet that I write fiction, to the point of being obnoxious but you’ve gotta be your own biggest fan and obsessed with your material to that degree, and the people that resonate with that information or the ones that tell me they like to read will become proofreading or editing candidates. The only shame in that arrives when, say, I ask someone for their help in editing and don’t credit their efforts properly. As I build out these 30 docs, I’ll include sections where people can comment with how they want to be credited, so that way I don’t have to worry about gathering that information later on when, if all goes according to plan, I have enough material to publish as an ebook under my own publishing company, which I’ve been planning out for months, but haven’t really had a solid enough project or product to publish.

Let’s face it: The idea of reading stories about characters is more appealing than essays. Why not focus on that?

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: I already wrote about figuring your life out for the month to write. My next step was thinking about what tools I’d use to arrive there and building those tools while writing.
Related: Other 2019 Novel writings.
Picture: Outsourcing elements that you don’t want to do is probably the most important tool you can use, here, I just use a boring template image because the visual element is only here to entice readers.
Written On: October 23rd 2019 [6:23am to 7:15am]
Last Edited: October 23rd 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.