Friday, March 25, 2016

Editing and Proofreading

As a copy editor, I rarely worry about the grammar, punctuation or typos in my work. I revise as I write. Also, in revising, I get at least three passes to correct mistakes that my Continuing Critiques partners point out.

But, writers are often too close to their work to see the mistakes. We become blind to things because we are so close and remember what the brain does, not what our hands type.
It always pays to get an extra set of eyes going over your work. Hire a proofreader or editor in two separate passes–--your work will always improve.

For the non-editors, here are a few tips before sending your MS to a professional:

  • READ YOUR WIP ALOUD. Listening will make misspellings stand out. Use an text/speech converter on your e-reader or phone app. Great for nonsensical sentence structure 
  • Print out or send your MS to your phone or e-reader. The different format will surprise you
  •  BETA READERS are your friends. Pick readers with different interests and skills that have nothing to do with writing. They'll be more likely to spot errors or things that confuse. Critique groups are even better, since many different perspectives give you insight
  • Do a search for filter words and phrases. "I wonder", "I feel", "I see". Just show her/him looking, noticing, feeling. Example: "I looked around and noticed" would have more impact as "Wait, things are different." (then list the differences)
  •  Get rid of Show, don't Tell Red Flag Words --Be sure you're not explaining motivation, feelings or actions with "To", "When","As", "Could see". Example: As Beano pulled back the curtain, he could see that she was in trouble) 
Of course, conceptual editors are going to catch 99% of your plot issues, but that's another story.

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