Writing the last chapter and summing up your work produces a mixture of emotions. Your hard work and all the effort and time you have put into your project is finally coming to an end. The next step is editing.
A dreaded and tedious task. There are a ton of things to look for when you are going back through your draft. Tenses, grammar, misspelling, characterization, plot flow & redundancies.
To make things a little easier, here are a few tips and tricks:
- Be methodical. Start off with the things you know are your weakness. For me, I was used to writing in present tense, but my WIP was in past tense. I kept finding myself switching back and forth, especially on certain words (is, are, has, etc). You can make fixing your repeat mistakes easily by using the Find and Replace tool in Microsoft.
- Make use of free tools and websites when possible. Grammarly offers a free version of its program. This is a wonderful tool to use in addition to the Microsoft spell check. Editminion is another great tool that is great for pointing out tenses and incorrect word usage. The only downside to this one is the limited amount of words that you can check at one time. Paperrater is a glorified spell checker and online proofreader. Again, this one can only check a limited amount of words at a time. There are several services that can also be purchased (slickwrite, prowritingaide, smart-edit). Of course, you could always use an editor as well. NY Books is a good place to start when looking for an editor.
- Get a fresh perspective. Change the font of your draft. Read it on a tablet, laptop or phone rather than where you have been working on it. Read it aloud or have Microsoft Word read it to you. You could also try recording yourself reading so that you can listen in the car on the way to work or while you are cleaning house. This will allow you to note anything that sounds funny or strange.
- Take a break. If you stare at your work for too long, you will naturally begin to miss things. It happens. The human brain can only take so much before it decides to no longer function at its highest level. Taking short breaks and stepping away from your work after every few paragraphs will help to keep a fresh set of eyes.
Naturally, you have to do what works best for you. There are a top of videos and websites out there that provide tips to the trade, but not everyone will benefit from them. Find out what works best for you and stick with it.
Wishing you the best. Happy writing my friends.