When you’re a writer, you find yourself wearing the hat of an editor, too. For me, editing is the worst stage of writing a book. It’s tedious, and boring, and seems to go on forever, depending on the length of the manuscript. While I was very proud on the day I completed a three hundred page manuscript, I was also annoyed because I knew I’d have to sit down and EDIT all three hundred pages. But, it was a learning experience. If you can afford to have someone else do the editing and proofreading for you, kudos to you. But, if you’re like me, you have to do it yourself. I’m not going to label myself an expert on editing and proofreading, but I would like to share some of the things I’ve learned.
Do all of your proofreading at one time.
I used to print a few chapters, edit them, then type a few more chapters, print them, edit them, and so on. This is a mistake. I did this for Valentine, and Fortune’s Wing, and Allan & Mac. These are much shorter books, however, using this method of proofreading and editing, left a lot of room for errors. I also did this for the original Our Lady of Righteous Rage. I must have read that book five times, and there were still a ton of errors after it was published. So, with Novocaine, I decided to try a different approach. I just spent time writing the entire manuscript, without worrying about proofreading. That took a tremendous amount of pressure off of me, because it allowed me to focus on the story. When the manuscript was complete, I printed it and proofread it, then read it a second time. When I received my author’s proof copy, there was only ONE error, which I corrected.
Don’t rely solely upon Spell-Check
Spell-check is helpful, but you can’t trust it to catch every mistake. Do you know how many times I’ve typed pf instead of of? More than I can count. Then, there’s dialogue. I have a tendency to use gonna instead of going to in my dialogue, and Spell-check gets me every time.
Don’t edit while you’re tired.
I’ve made this mistake. I feel like I’m on a roll, and I don’t want to put the manuscript down. I just want to get it done! But, I have learned to stop if I’m feeling sleepy. Sleepy editing will not benefit your writing. You need to be alert and well-rested.
Do read your writing more than once.
Yes, read it several times, to be sure everything is correct. Will you get sick of your own writing? Possibly. But is it worth it? I think so.
Do print your manuscript out and read the hard copy.
Should you read it on the computer screen or on your tablet? You could, but why would you want to? It’s stressful on the eyes. Reading a hard copy will help you catch more errors.