Tag Archives: proof reading

5 Editing Tips and Tricks for your Manuscript

With The Earl and the Artificer ready for publication in a little over two weeks, I thought I would touch upon one of the major steps in the writing/publishing process: editing.

Editing is one of my favorite parts of the writing process and also one of the most daunting. When you finish your 300 page manuscript and sit staring at the mountain of papers, editing seems like an endless process. Really it is, since you could edit it forever, but at some point, you must edit and release it into the world.

Here are some tips and tricks for getting your manuscript edited and ready for publication:

  • Edit as you go. I know many writers suggest writing a first draft in some sort of adrenaline and creativity-induced haze, but I find that I just can’t do that. If you’re like me, you’re a tinkerer. Embrace that habit… to a point. The problem with editing as you go is you can easily end up not moving forward. If you worry about getting stuck, try beginning your writing session by only editing what you wrote the previous session. That way, you have a certain area you’re allowed to play with, but you do it before moving forward.
  • Make a list of things you need to edit as you write. This goes along with the previous bullet point. To keep you from going back and tinkering or to simply have a good idea of what you know needs to be fixed, keep a list of things you want to edit. It won’t cover the entirety of your editing, but it will ensure you don’t forget thing you had been dying to fix at the time.
  • Know your weaknesses. This may be the hardest aspect of editing. Writers tend to either think their work is perfect or all drivel. Know what you aren’t good at. This can be learned through feedback from writing groups or even reviews of your work. Often, overwriting is a problem in first drafts. Be on the look out for overwriting or over-explaining, especially if you know you are prone to it. I have a problem with lay versus laid, so as I’m rereading my draft, I circle every one I find. That way, I can check it with a chart I have to confirm I’m using the correct tense. It may help to make a list of your known issues that you can reference as you edit.
  • Have someone or something read your work aloud after you’ve edited it. This was an old trick we used in my university’s writing center. If you read something out loud, you’re more likely to catch errors or hear when a sentence is awkward. I usually can’t find someone who is willing to read my 300 page book out loud, but Adobe Acrobat Reader has a text reading feature where it will read your document aloud. It’s like a GPS reading a novel, so some of the pronunciation is awkward. Overall, I found it quite useful for proof-reading my editing novel. I heard the errors and was able to easily correct them on my word doc. Anything that lets me play on Facebook and edit at the same time gets my vote. As mentioned before, this is a trick for after your book has gone through several rounds of editing and is in the final polishing stage.
  • Edit by hand. Yes, I’m killing trees, but I have found that I pay closer attention to what I’m reading on paper and make more thoughtful choices while working on paper versus strictly on Word. On paper it’s “permanent” while on the computer it can be easily changed. It’s all psychological. Plus, there’s less of a chance of being distracted by Facebook or Twitter while working on paper. I also tend to edit my edits as I type them into my computer after hand-editing.
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The Importance of Proofing

I had a minor rude awakening this weekend.  My proof copy of The Winter Garden came last weekend, so I decided I would give the book one more round of proof-reading to find some leftover typos and make sure everything was in order.  I quickly found out, it was not perfect.

Somehow italics in certain chapters magically disappeared.  No idea how it happened, but somewhere between the original file and the paperback, half the italics in the book did not translate.  Luckily, I discovered the issue Saturday night and fixed it using Word’s compare draft feature along with control-find.  At times, I wish I didn’t reference so many books or have my characters think so much, but the issue did make me very aware of what nearly skated under my quality-control radar.

This is why when you create a paperback, they send you a proof-copy to check over.  At first, I didn’t notice it because half the book had italics (sprinkled throughout), but chapter two didn’t along with many others.  Comb through your manuscript with eagle eyes.  Take your ebook or original copy and compare it to your paperback because that is how issues like this are spotted. I didn’t notice it until I was correcting typos and had my Word file for the ebook and paperback editions both open and saw that a book title wasn’t italicized.

Apart from the italics issues, I also caught quite a few typos or awkward phrasings that were easily smoothed. Proofing is a time to put the final polish on your novel and make sure everything is up to snuff. Luckily, now it is all fixed, though I’m sure I’ll find more silly errors within the coming months, but the issues have been caught and the both formats have been finalized for publication.

What am I going to do with the 35 days between now and March 31st when The Winter Garden is released? Hopefully work on book three.  More about that will come as I get further into it.

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7 Tips for Editing Your Manuscript

editing

I have a love-hate relationship with editing.

Being the type of person who is appalled and embarrassed to have others discover mistakes in my work, I use editing as a way to polish my work before I show it off to anyone.  I have one alpha reader who reads most of my work while it is in progress because she is the most familiar with my characters and can often judge if I have a scene or reaction makes sense, and of course she sees my work in its unedited glory.  She is also my best friend and a fellow writer, who isn’t afraid to say, “Uh, what were you thinking?”  No one else should see it that way.  To me, an unedited work is like being in your underwear.  You don’t necessarily want everyone to see you in that state. Continue reading

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