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Read your work aloud

It’s easy to miss problems and mistakes when you edit your manuscript. Our minds tend to fill in words that aren’t there and skip ones that don’t belong.

I go through multiple drafts. The first draft gets ideas, situations, characters and relationships from my mind into a physical form. It’s in rewriting the second, third and subsequent drafts where a manuscript is crafted into a novel.

I write the second draft in a word processor. It’s easy to make corrections, shift blocks of prose around, delete sections and create new material. For the third or fourth draft, depending on how much grunt work I have to do, I print the manuscript out on paper and go through it with a red pen. Things stand out on paper that can be missed on a screen.

As well, writers use different parts of their brains when they type than when you write by hand. Typing tends to draw on the analytical brain and handwriting on the emotional side. I can’t write poetry directly on a computer. When I finish the edits on paper, I enter the corrections back into the word processor.

The last step is to read the work out loud to myself. When I voice the text, missing words, mistakes and inconsistencies pop out.