As I have mentioned in this blog before, I am now applying the finishing touches on my novel, “Jackson Flats.” And as everyone warned me, the work is time consuming.
I have read over my manuscript maybe 20 different times and know it nearly by heart. But it’s not easy to edit or proof your own writing. Try it if you haven’t done it already. You will see what I am talking about. And good editing, one could say, is right up there with good writing when it comes to effectively telling of a story.
For me, one sound method – among several available – for effective editing of my own work. You can try it if you have your story all written out and want to do your own editing.
Read through slowly, word by word, making sure and doubly sure all is correct, including the big three: spelling, grammar and your facts or hard information you use, such as historical dates, names or events. But since it is your own writing, a chance exists that you will miss something. And it could be something big.
For example, during proofing of my novel, I missed several errors. However, thanks to some close reading from one of my co-conspirators in the writing club, they were caught, and I had time to go back and correct. What is the old saying, four (or six or eight) eyes are better than two? Couldn’t have been truer in my case.
In my novel, I missed such obvious errors as calling one character by the name of another, which I did more than once, and also said the main character, Jake, a crusading reporter for a small newspaper, didn’t like one of his co-workers, who I named Thomas. The problem was this: I said Jake didn’t like him, but then a few chapters later I have Jake taking Thomas into his confidence in detailing his plans for a major adventure.
In my editing and proofing, I must have read over those details five or more times and never caught the confusion. Then one day I was lying in my bath tub day dreaming and had a flash of recognition.
“Wait,” I said, and sat up abruptly, so quickly I splashed water all over the bathroom floor. (Don’t worry, Mr. Landlord, I quickly mopped it up.) “That isn’t right! When you finishing washing yourself and get out of this tub, change that!” Which is what I did.
I also then and there decided to take the advice of the co-club member who did the close proofing. “Take your time looking over your work,” she counseled, and proved the validity of another old saying. “A word from the wise is sufficient.” And she carries the wisdom of writing experience, and the writing income as proof of the breadth of her knowledge.
So, we come back to the present, which is where I am now and during which time I am taking my time to get my novel, “Jackson Flats” as right as riot gear.