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Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to edit

Editing is supposed to be hard. Here's what I have found works best for me. I haven't always done this, but I will in the future.

While writing, I never allow a mistake I see to go unfixed. Yes, I know there is the "just write" camp, I'm not in that camp. If I see something that is wrong, I stop. (I miss a lot BTW)

At least once while writing a book I will go back to the beginning and start reading, fixing as I go. With Colorado Flames With A Texas Twist, I read the first 30,000 words 4 times before I moved past 30K. So far, I've read the entire book 2 times, the first 30k, 6 times.

One read through of my book will be done reading the book backwards. Yes, you heard that correctly. I read from the top of the last page to the bottom, then I read from the top of the second to last page to the bottom, then the third to the last page and so on. Yes, It takes time. I'm currently doing this to a 16,000 word manuscript and it has taken me 3 hours to get 75% done. But there's more...

On one of my read throughs, I change the font to a script font. I like Apple Chancery. It's difficult to read your story in a font you're not used to. I'll probably switch to Lush, or Zapfino in a few months. You are forced to slow down and read the story, seeing each word, each comma, each period when you read in an unusual font. With computers, it's simple to change your font and catch your errors. Also, you should change your font size, this helps too.

When I am self publishing a book, I now read it on my Kindle before I let it go. Yes, that means I will have read Colorado Flames With A Texas Twist 6 or 7 times (the first 30K 10 or 11 times) before I publish. It's supposed to be difficult.

If you are new to writing, I suggest you develop a similar method before you submit. Reading backwards will help you figure out holes in your stories. Interrupting the way your brain thinks about the story flow is important when you are trying to catch your errors. Publishers expect your story to be good before you send it in. Don't give them another excuse to reject your story. There are a lot of excellent authors out there and many of them are willing to take the time to make the story clean.

1 comment:

Ernesto Oporto said...

This is very good advice. I have found, much to my chagrin the wrong word in a sentence, after I had gone through six stages of proofreading.

I think that the idea of reading backwards would have forced me to look at the word without assuming what it was. Great idea. I will be reading backwards in the future.

Thank you for an excellent post, I am sure it will help me edit my word better in the furure.