In Praise of Notability

Notability is my new favourite app.

The news is official. At the moment I’m editing Coals of Fire, and I’m using my lovely iPad to do it. Usually I’m a longhand ‘red pen’ editor, but in the past this has meant that I have a ream of paper on my lap on the tube or bus, which is awkward at the best of times.

Now, with my iPad and stylus, I can edit a PDF export of the original Pages file in Notabiliy, in longhand.

This gives me all the freedom of writing longhand, plus all the freedom of using my iPad to work on the go. With none of the hassle of paper. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely a bit of a techno-geek when it comes to my writing.


Pretty neat, huh? This brings up the question: how do you like to edit? I edit in 3 stages:

1. Edit as I go. I will usually review the previous few pages to get into the groove of writing, and make a few cosmetic changes along the way.

2. First edit. This is when I have finished a significant chunk, say 6-10 chapters. I will sit down and read for flow, pace, detail and errors. This informs the next chunk of writing.

3. Final edits. I will leave the book to stew when it is ‘done’, give it out to my readers, then come back to it myself and make changes to the hardcopy (or PDF in Notability), then read my readers’ comments and take them into account. Then comes an extensive re-write and more minor edits, and this can go on for a while.

What’s your preference? Comments, please!


4 thoughts on “In Praise of Notability

Add yours

  1. That actually sounds really awesome, and I don’t know why I never thought about it, I’ve had that app forever! Meanwhile I’m carrying around a 360 page spiral novel like an idiot. I’ve thought about editing as I go but as miserable as it makes me I have always edited (and no doubt will always, with my luck) after I’ve finished the entire novel. It’s an exhaustive process but I know that if I actually tried to do it as I went I’d end up getting like five chapters behind and by then I’d be like… eh, forget it. Still, this is definitely something to note for book three. 😀 (better the iPad then carrying around a thousand page novel!)

    1. Wow. I don’t envy you! The thought of doing all my edits in one go makes me weak at the knees (and not in a good way) … But yes, it’s great to be able to use technology like the iPad to improve our workflow. The biggest benefit I have experienced is increased mobility, what with iCloud, Dropbox and the like (per your article).

      I know there are some writers out there who hate technology – and yes, nothing beats the good ol’ paper and pen when you get right down to it – but I say artists of all stripes have historically embraced technology, and we should not be any different.

      1. Yeah it’s seriously miserable. It feels like its all I blog about anymore. I’m going to try it kind of your way with the third book. I’m all about technology. I’m definitely going to use it next time around 🙂

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