Thursday, November 17, 2011

Self-editing

Self editing of any work is the most painstaking exercise. It takes a very keen eye to see every detail in a work so familiar, you can almost recite it in your sleep.

As my dear friend Sandra Hyatt commented "An author works on a manuscript until she hates it, so readers will love it."   So very apt. (Very loud sigh)  So how do you catch the errors and  typos that inevitably creep into any written work that you, as the author, are so familiar with you do not see the mistakes?

In a recent blog I read changing the font and text makes mistakes much easier to spot so I tried the text and font below:
Beyond the open window, the roll and snarl of the ocean added to the tension in the shabby farmhouse kitchen.  Brother and sister faced each other across the scarred kitchen table. 
And I'm amazed how much easier the errors are to pick up. But, even after doing this, mistakes creep in...leaving me tearing my hair out. 
Now I have found the answer. A critique partner who teaches English.... And after receiving back my first chapter with errors highlighted, I am quite literally, in seventh heaven. Anything that, as a reader, jars with her is highlighted. Commas magically appear in the right places... and odd grammatical errors are corrected.
I am hopeful the combination will solve what has been a recurring dilemma for me. And by carefully studying what the English teacher points out, I sincerely hope my grammar and punctuation will improve.  

And this time around English grammar will be assiduously studied. 

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