The end or not the end?
This is the last time you’ll look at your script …. until it’s accepted and you go through it with an editor or it’s rejected and you take another look at it, some months down the line, before you send it out again.
Oh yes, by the time you get to this stage you’ve really polished it … and the first thing the publishing house’s editor is going to do is take it apart.
You yourself will do this as well at a later date – because fashions in writing change and you move on as a writer anyway.
To be honest, editing never ends.
More of a proof read?
You’ve probably got rid of most of the more obvious mistakes by now. The read aloud edit helps a lot. It may be wise here to concentrate on a few specific things. There are some things that we all get wrong frequently and there will be your own specific common mistakes. E.g. I often type “form” when I mean “from”
Here is a suggested list but it is by no means comprehensive. It’s a good idea to develop your own list over time.
· Is dialogue set out correctly?
· Are you using a word too often e.g. “Gosh” “seems”
· Is your use of the apostrophe correct?
· Look out for confusions such as
o who’s / whose
o its / it’s
o your / you’re,
o their / there
o bare / bear
o affect / effect
· Are you consistent in the way you hyphenate words?
· Are you consistent in the way you write numbers as words (different styles recommend numbers up to twenty, up to fifty or up to one hundred – can you see which style I’m using?)
· Are you distinguishing between generic relations – mum, dad, grandpa, and proper nouns Mum, Dad, Grandpa
Some proof-reading tricks
Can you bear to start at the end reading one paragraph at a time?
Complete this edit in small chunks.
But perhaps the wisest of all: ask someone else to proof read, or even pay someone else to do it.
Change the way the text looks
This will help you to get some objectivity. You can:
- Change the font.
- Single space
- Set it out as booklet
- Print it out as a booklet
A final tip
Start each stage of revision in a different place. Otherwise, you tend to rush as you get towards the end and your final chapters will receive less attention. How many pages does your text have? Divide that by 16. Say you come up with 25. So start revisions 1 on page 1, revision 2 on page 26, revision 3 on page 52 etc.
Then get submitting!