On the topic of editing, author J. Daniel Sawyer from the Every Day Novelist Podcast agrees that proofreading is a rare skill that takes effort to review a manuscript for errors instead of getting caught up in the language and story.
Editing Tip: Have Your “Edited” Draft Read Aloud to You
Looking for and finding the errors is the reason having other members of a writing group read your manuscript aloud works so well. When someone reads my edited draft, it is the first time I have actually “heard” my story. I can hear if the rhythm is working or if there are too many of the same words. If the reader stumbles over syntax or seems confused, then I know to adjust the wording and flow. Hearing my work from a person as opposed to an electronic reader also helps to confirm that the story is comprehensive. Additionally, other writers of varying backgrounds and ages offer contextual perspective on story beats and plot. Woo boy, will they find and point out holes in the story!
At first it is hard when others read your story and start pointing things out. Eventually, you get passed the nerves, jitters, and wondering if you’ve failed. In the end, it is worth everything. I know the writers in our close writing group want me to succeed and I want them to succeed, too. That is why we meet every week.
If you do not have a writers’ group, try to find a local group by searching through Facebook, Meetup, or NaNoWriMo’s forums. If distance and other issues prevent a group, have a close friend or a family member read to you. If none of that works or you want another reading, save your draft as a PDF and utilize the Read Out Loud feature that comes with the free Adobe Acrobat. Here is a link to more information: Adobe Acrobat Read Aloud
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