I’ve been talking quite a bit about revision the past few weeks because of where I am with one of my novels. Two weeks ago, I talked about micro-level revisions, and last week, about how to maintain voice while revising.
Now, after several critiques and twelve drafts, and reading my manuscript out loud, I’m in the final polishing stage.
I always print out my manuscript for the final read-through. I find that I catch more errors on paper than I do on the screen.
What am I looking for?
- Misspelled words
- Missing punctuation
- Formatting issues
- Any other errors
I’m about half-way through the hard-copy and I’ve found one backwards apostrophe, two misspelled words or typos, one place where I had to add a word, and a couple places where I’m considering using a hyphen.
Yes, it’s not much, and none of these little errors are deal breakers, but this read-through gives me something very important: “Peace of mind.”
How do I do this read-though?
I know the story so well that if I didn’t force myself to read the words in a slow and mindful way I probably wouldn’t catch anything. It’s easy for my brain to fill in words that I know should be there even if they aren’t. And unlike a read-through for plot, pacing and character where I like to read the whole book in one or two chunks, this time I break it up more because I’m really doing more proof-reading than anything.
Do you do your final read-through on hard-copy or on the screen? How do you maintain your concentration when reading a story that you know so well? How do you train your mind to see what is on the paper instead of what is in your head?