Thursday, December 29, 2011

Revising and Editing your Manuscript

I probably spent more time reading and revising my manuscript than I had spent writing it. Until you actually go through this process, it is difficult to grasp just how many hours are involved.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend who read every chapter, over and over, along with me. This gave me an outside voice, and an opinion that helped me examine what I had written. I did not make every change she suggested, but her comments helped me make necessary adjustments, pointed out missing details, and so much more. (Sometimes there were details that I knew about the story, but had failed to share with my readers).

Using my Kindle (Amazon e-reader), I listened as it read my story back to me. Paying attention to the flow of the words and catching an occasional spelling mistake, I really appreciated this feature. When we read the story aloud, we can add missing words or skip over other mistakes without even realising we’re doing it. The Kindle proved to be an immense help.

Once these steps were covered, I shared my manuscript with a larger group of readers. I chose a group of readers, both male and female, that included every possible age group and genre. In writing a YA adventure, I knew that giving my manuscript to a Stephen King/Dean Koontz fan I was setting myself up for an interesting review. Imagine my surprise when she told me she had really liked it!

Taking my work one step further, I sent the manuscript to a professional for editing. Before she started in on all my hard work, she warned me that if she didn’t think the story was up to par she would not waste her time (or my money) on it. Which I thought was fair.

Holding my breath as I awaited the return of my precious package, I was thrilled to read the six-page letter that accompanied the manuscript. She liked it! She said she had thoroughly enjoyed it. After allowing myself a huge sigh of relief and one of my biggest smiles, I started on the revision of my manuscript once again.

One last time, I shared it with my reading group and awaited their comments.

Finally, I was ready to submit my manuscript. I could have continued to read and revise, but at one point you start changing words, only to change them back…a sure sign that it’s time to stop.

I’ll cover the submission stories in a later post.

For now, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

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