Tips for Editing Your Own Work (3/8)

#3: Read Through in a Different Format

Physically turning your words into a different format can help you spot problems or mistakes more easily. You might want to print out a blog post before editing it, or transfer your novel manuscript onto an e-reader device.

Often, it’s useful to take a look at your work in its published form (or as close to it as you can get).  If you’ve got a blog post, for instance, you might use your blog platform’s “preview” function to check it out. If you’re writing an email newsletter, you could test it by emailing it to your own account. Sometimes, you’ll notice problems that didn’t stand out before, such as too many short/long paragraphs or glaring typos.

I feel pretty comfortable about this step.  At some point, at least one (or more) of my drafts will get the red pen on paper treatment.  There is something about reading and being able to mark up something in your own writing that makes this step a necessary part of the editing process.  I realize it’s not the best choice for the environment, but I always go for double sided printing!  As an additional suggestion, I would mention, add a comments section on the side (in MS Word) to allow plenty of room to write in scenes / dialogue.  Also, for some reason, I usually use 1.5 line spacing to allow myself room to cross out and add words in.  As I get closer to my final draft this time around, I may even go for a cheap copy on CreateSpace to really get an idea of what the book looks like in a truly physical form.  As the books are mostly free to produce, I’d be okay with paying the $9 or so dollars to get a first copy I could completely mark up.

Do you hand edit your work?

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