Revising Your Manuscript

You have to do it. You have to go through your text many times after you put those words down. And if you are working on a book, you need to read your work many times. After you are done with the chapter draft, before sending it to your betas/critique partners, after making changes, before sending it to your editor/agent… Simply, writing means also a lot of reading. And that takes time, right? Here are some ideas for reviewing your text effectively.

Focus on something different during each reading turn

Writing is a complex process, as you could see here and here. That means that you may become absorbed by close inspection of the plot development and character arcs. And be blind to those five typos in one page even though you are reading it for the fourth time. Or, you may be on a hunt for these typos and so not realize you completely forgot to mention that cute and popular character in three chapters in a row.

Try to set a goal for each reading session and do not allow yourself to get distracted by anything else. You cannot see everything in one turn, be patient, and do your reading properly.

Print your manuscript

We all have enough of staring at the screen. Computers, phones, tablets… and your eyes are not free even outside, where screen adds are waiting. Give your sight a break and use gentle paper for a change. It can safe you a few headaches. You may bring these papers even to places without electricity. Or let your friends and family read your work. Writing notes on the edges is a comfortable editing practice as well. And you can store your different drafts and rejoice seeing how much better you have become during your writing journey.

Listen to your manuscript

This won’t help you much with the actual grammatical corrections but it is great for the plot or character development, catching redundant or dragging sections, and assessing the overall style. You may also notice a need to use more synonymy, vary your sentence dynamics, or spot where more direct speech/description is needed.

Again, you may let your eyes rest. You can use a text to speech app on your phone and listen to your work while cooking dinner, in the woods, in bed before falling asleep… The artificial sound may be annoying and you may not be able to tolerate it. But if this option works for you, you have a great tool to save a lot of time.



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