1. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    Self Editing Tricks

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lettuce head, May 25, 2013.

    Sometimes it is hard to edit your own work because we are too close to it. Some find it best to put the work down, walk a way for days or weeks, then come back fresh with a new point of view. I was hoping others might add to this thread by telling about the different techniques you use to help you edit.

    I discovered a trick that really helps me out. I used my Kindle for this. I loaded my document on Kindle (a word document or Kindle's ebook format works well). When I read it on Kindle, my mind thinks of it as a real product I have purchased. It increases my separation and allows me to see my work in a completely new way. It speeds up my process and gives me a better end product.

    Has anyone else tried this?
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't have a Kindle, so...

    I find reading aloud is an excellent way to catch those clunky phrases or too long sentences - especially duplicate words (like 'the the').
     
  3. WhenIt'sDark
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    WhenIt'sDark Member

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    After finishing my first draft I printed it out. This made me see my MS in a completely different way (a bit like you, with your kindle). I find that this works because you stop staring at your computer screen and get to read your work like it's an actual book.

    Also I tell myself that it's fine if I can't find the perfect words right away. I am still editing and I can always come back to it later. You shouldn't be too hard on yourself.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    one should always do at least 2 edits on a hard copy of the ms, if it's a book... and at least 1 for shorter works...

    btw, lettucehead, there are scads of other threads about this topic on the site... it's a good idea to do a site search and check what's out there, before starting yet another thread...
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've tried the Kindle thing - it does work pretty well and it feels surreal because you do think of it as an actual book. I remember feeling rather strangely excited and nervous the first time I saw it on my Kindle lol. I think it can be pretty good alternative if you don't have the money/printer/paper/ink to continuously print your MS out for a hard edit. Eventually though, for the final 1-2 edits I'd still advise to print your book out on paper.

    I also have a friend I pester for word choice and nuances in grammar from time to time. Usually he just confirms what I already know anyway though - but it's just nice to have that confirmation sometimes.
     
  6. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    The site search is pretty shitty though.
     
  7. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Okay this is a weird one. Sometimes I change the length of the lines from 6 and a half inches to three and a half thereby making it into a column. This alters the text enough to make plain the odd bits that I was over-looking because I simply had become used to the pattern. Also, you print it out and read it up-side down, or read in the mirror...those tricks can also work.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I use the "read it out loud trick", but I ask my go-to person to read it. Someone else's approach really brings out those bits that end up not reading the way you swore they did in your head. It also illuminates cluttered and clumsy syntax that you, the writer, are already prepared to traverse with ease.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I always read my stuff aloud. I think it's the most important and effective technique for finding grievous flaws in your prose.

    I haven't tried the Kindle thing, though, but it sounds like a cool idea. I'll give it a try with my current story. Thanks for the suggestion!
     
  10. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    I also think reading it out loud is a pretty good idea, as well as having a few beta readers waiting in the wings--one of mine is Scottish with a fairly heavy brogue, so I have her read a few pages out loud for me from time to time. She is a DJ at a local radio station, I love her voice. :)
     
  11. Dean Blake
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    Dean Blake Member

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    I've also used this process prior to publishing my work, but usually near the end of the whole editing process.

    Usually, when it comes to blog posts and short stories, my editing process after writing goes like this:

    1. I read the word document and patch up any inconsistencies in plot, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors
    2. I go over the document two or three more times
    3. I save it as a PDF then go over it again - I've found that reading a document as a PDF really lets you see your story at a different angle. I also read it out aloud.
    4. I print it out then go over it again.
    5. I leave it for a few weeks then go over it as a PDF and printed version all over again
    6. (If I'm writing a story to be distributed via Amazon) I publish it in trial kindle format to make sure it will read well


    Throughout this process, I make sure to read my stories as objectively as possible.
     

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