In the tradition of “five things”, I wanted to note five things that are coming in useful now that the novel is in edit stage proper.
1. Decent Hardware
This one I can’t overemphasise. Your editor will probably send you over a MS Word document with annotations in the margin which will appear as comments. You may need to reference another document while you have this one open. And personally I find it hard to work without music in the background so I like to put on Spotify and listen to my favourite pieces, as well as my browser being open when I need to google “1913 rubbish coats”. That’s a lot of memory intensive apps open and the last thing you need is your concentration broken when you’re in the middle of a rewrite. I recommend at the very least 4GB RAM on your machine, and preferably 8GB.
Sometimes sitting at your desk you will get stuck thinking of a way around a plot hole or re-configuring a scene or what-have-you. If you’ve been thinking for a while and getting nowhere, there’s nothing like a walk to come up with a brainwave. Your brain will chew over the problem and often come up with a solution. However if it’s turning into a 10-mile hike, you know it’s just procrastination and you need to get back to your desk.
3. Magic Code
This is a little utility I modified from existing Visual Basic code on the internet to write a macro to download all comments into an excel spreadsheet: this includes comments, the sentences they refer to, and the page number. I find this highly useful as then I can compile a status report in the excel file using all that information. Ask me nicely and I’ll send it on to you.
4. Paper and Pen
This is for scribbling things down as I work along that otherwise I will forget about. Also the notebook doubles up nicely as a mouse pad. Novels tend to have a lot of dependencies i.e. when you introduce one thing, it has a domino effect on lots of other things way up the line. So if I delete a scene, I might need to write that down in big letters on the notepad so it will stay in my memory. Post-It notes fulfil a similar requirement.
Or insert poison of your choice 🙂