Writing Tips: Editing and Proofreading

Congratulations again to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo!  Now that you guys have a bunch of drafts to look over, we decided to share some of our favorite revising tips.

    1. Read your work out loud.  Often times, when reading silently, your brain automatically and subconsciously corrects grammar and phrasing mistakes.  Reading out loud makes your brain slow down and process what’s actually on the page and not what it knows is supposed to be on the page.  Obviously, this may not be doable for longer works.
    2. Put your work aside for a little while.  Nothing makes editing harder than being overly attached to a work.  If you find yourself hesitating to cut/change lines due to attachment or inability to think up another way to accomplish your goal, you may benefit from giving your work time to breathe for a little while.  Not only will you be able to critique the work with a fresh eye, but you are also giving time for 3 a.m. epiphanies to occur!
    3. Get a bunch of readers/editors to look at your work.  You, as a writer, have a certain way you mean things in your stories, and your intense knowledge of your work and/or the assumptions of your social background may result in ambiguities when it hits the page.  By having a bunch of different readers, you can assure that your work hits all the right buttons with a wide audience.  Additionally, by getting experts in a certain field to look over your work (for example, getting a martial artist to read your fight scenes), you can assure accuracy when writing what you don’t know as well as what you do.
    4. Use online sources/apps. Putting your works into a system that specifically targets grammar mistakes is a wonderful thing. Grammerly and Hemingwayapp.com are both awesome (and free!) proofreading helpers.  However, keep in mind that these assist with editing and proofreading, but they don’t do it for you…
    5. Edit your work right before bed.  If you edit your work right before you go to sleep, your mind will be primed to reworking awkward and unclear phrasing while you rest.  Just make sure you keep your computer or a notepad by your bed to right down the new ideas and sentences!

Happy Writing!

Leandra and Gwen

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