Monday, December 23, 2013

Editing, line by line

Editing is an important part of writing. Right now I'm working in final edits--proofreading for grammar and typos and making minor wording changes for easier sentence flow.
Editing: much like this.
(Image: "Leser mit Lupe"
painted by Lesser Ury
public domain in the US)

For this part of editing, it's generally considered best to check your document in a different format.

As for me, I've created a Nook version of book and have been reading it on my Nook. Editing like this is my day job, so this is pretty effective for me. It's a different enough format that my eyes catch things they missed previously. Plus, it was good practice figuring out how to format an e-book.

Other authors I know do things such as read the entire story out loud (ouch--I'd be hoarse for a month!), find a program that will read the story aloud, or read the book backwards sentence by sentence.

What are some of the proofreading methods you've heard of, or tried yourself?


  1. I strongly vouch for reading out loud. I am lucky enough that my girlfriend is very interested in hearing my novel-in-progress, and I have been reading it out loud to her. During this process, I make a note of anything that I trip over, or that confuses her. If I as the author feel awkward delivering a line that I've written and already know, then surely it will be even more glaring to a first-time reader. Anything that doesn't flow well verbally will (probably) not flow well for someone reading to themself. Reading out loud also forces me to slow down so I'm less likely to miss spelling or punctuation mistakes.

    Because I'm reading to another person so don't want to interrupt the story, usually I just mark the word or phrase I need to change, and then come up with the final re-wording on my own later. It would also be harder to determine what flowed well and what didn't if I kept stopping.

    I have now gotten in the habit of saying out loud lines I'm stuck on when I'm editing by myself. It just helps me determine their suitability much more accurately and easily.

    1. I think reading out loud is by far the most popular editing method people talk about, mostly because it seems to work! I sometimes talk through scenes, especially dialogue, when writing them to determine if they sound natural and fluid. Which may have something to do with the odd looks I often get in public, because I don't always have my computer with me when I'm doing it... But yeah, slowing down is vital to catching the problems. Changing format activates my 'editor' brain and makes me slow down and pay attention to detail.