Writers are all different. I am a planner and first draft writer. I can get lost in the worlds that I have created and can be “away” doing my thing for hours at a time, day after day and so on.
I am not a great editor and proof reader. This is down to many factors, one of which is that I am a speed reader. I can skim pages at a time, understand the thread and get the story. I don’t need to see the minute of every piece of dialogue or narrative to “get it.”
In these test that one does from time to time, I can read paragraphs almost as quick with backward writing, only the first and last letters in the right place and so on. This does not bode well for editing my own work. I am also pretty good at reading words with all of the vowels removed.
This is why I use several different techniques when editing and proof reading.
First up is a straight forward read through. No thrills, just get to the end and see if the story, plot and characters hold up. This quick review does nothing for grammar, spelling, syntax, sentences, punctuation, and so on unless I spot something then I note it in the margin in red pen.
This will be followed by a slow read through for the obvious errors and spelling mistakes etc.
Then comes the hard work. A series of reads looking for specific problems.
First will be speech and punctuation.
Second will be adverbs, semi colons and other such things.
Third will be long sentences, over long narrative passages and repetition.
After this I let my proof reader have a read through. This way, it will be a reasonably pleasant read and they won’t have to struggle through the errors. This can be very distracting for someone who is reading the story for the first time.
My forth read through will be to address the comments made by proof reader.
I know what you are thinking. That’s seven, yes seven readings of the manuscript so far. Surely that is it, what else is there to do?
Plenty, that’s what.
I have to take my time and do bits at a time. If I was to try and do all of the above in one or two proof reads and edits I would get hopelessly lost and the pages would be covered in marks it would be unreadable and most certainly not decipherable.
There is more editing and work to be done and this is provided in Part 2 of this blog.