• From the Author

Editing tip

This isn't a new technique. A fellow author, who is also a journalist, told me this is a common thing. That said, I stumbled across it thinking myself clever for doing it this way.

What way, you ask?

Edit backwards.


Edit backwards. For more details here is how it works.

Print your digital book (unless of course, you are a purist who uses a typewriter or hand writes their novel. For you, that step is not needed).

Next, flip it to the last page. Go to the last sentence, read it. Does it make sense? Are there punctuation, spelling, grammar, or context issues? Use a red pen and mark it up. (proofreading mark cheat sheet here: https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/help-tools/proofreading-marks.html)

Move to the second to the last sentence, etc.

When I completed a whole page, I dog-eared the corner of that page to indicate that page was done. As I inputted the corrections into the digital manuscript, I un-dog-eared the page, and moved from front to back in order to insure the corrections were made in context with what had been written.

You'll catch more mistakes. It also helps you figure out if there are dialog tags which need to be included. If you don't know who is talking as you work backwards, chances are your reader won't know who is talking when they read it.

Once all the corrections are in the digital manuscript, use the tools for spelling, grammar, punctuation there. It will give you false positives, which you can safely hit the "ignore" option if needed. Lastly, go back to the printed copy, and figure out your chapters, your story arc, character progress, etc. If you've plotted well enough, this part should be easy. I do re-write, however, it usually isn't the whole book. Some sections don't work. Some sections miss their purpose. Some aren't hitting the right emotional note. That's when you re-write.

NOTE: if you look at the marked up page below, you'll notice that all the AM PM indicators are WRONG. Yeah, I figured that one out early into editing (on the back pages). Made a note to fix any instance with search and replace. Then happily ignored them.


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