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Ann Joyce
06-17-2013, 09:52 PM
I wish I could remember on which thread this was mentioned so I could thank the person that gave this advice by name, but I can't, so whoever you are, thank you very much.

I decided to share it for the benefit of my fellow authors because I am finding it to be such an excellent editing tool.

In a nutshell: Print your manuscript out and read it backwards, starting from the bottom of the last page and working your way up. I take the last paragrah, followed by the second to the last paragraph and so on.

Reading your manuscript like you normally do puts you into the flow of the story and your mind fills in missing words, etc. Reading in this manner is more clinical and it's easier to catch missing quotation marks, missing periods and things of that ilk more easily.

I hope some of you find this trick as helpful as I have.

slhuang
06-17-2013, 10:01 PM
This sounds great for proofreading. Thank you!

sarahdalton
06-17-2013, 11:25 PM
I do this when proof reading too! Well, kind of, I read all the chapters out of order because otherwise I find I edit and rewrite the opening chapter and neglect some of the chapters at the back of the book.

Good tip, Ann!

Spell-it-out
06-18-2013, 11:43 AM
Sounds like a great idea Ann. I remember seeing it here on AW but like you I can't place who said it. I'm going to give it a go later in my rewriting process.

vagough
06-18-2013, 02:30 PM
Never thought to do this, Ann -- thanks for the suggestion. I'll try it!

amergina
06-18-2013, 05:48 PM
Another technique that's good for editing is to use the text-to-speech function of your computer or e-reader read your manuscript to you. It'll catch some stuff your eye might skip.

sarahdalton
06-18-2013, 07:03 PM
I tend to read a lot of mine outloud. It makes your throat go dry after a while though!

Celeste Carrara
06-18-2013, 07:35 PM
These are all great suggestions!

Ann Joyce
06-18-2013, 09:03 PM
I'm two thirds done with the manuscript doing the backwards thing. I can't believe the little things I've caught, even though it's already been gone over many times. This trick has been invaluable to me.

I do read out loud sometimes too, and find that helpful as well, and yep, it dries my throat right out. As far as text-to-speech, I find that very interesting. Do all computers have that function or is it a program? And could you tell us more about that, amergina?

Thanks for all the comments, guys.

merrihiatt
06-19-2013, 03:13 AM
Another technique that's good for editing is to use the text-to-speech function of your computer or e-reader read your manuscript to you. It'll catch some stuff your eye might skip.

Love doing this. The word emphasis is different and you can hear sentences that need tweaking or are much too long. I read sentences aloud, too, but I'm reading with the inflection I intended, not what a reader might see.

>compass<
06-19-2013, 06:43 AM
This is really clever!

I saw a pretty stupid typo in my ms just last night that had been there for who knows how long, so this will help me find any others.

Spell-it-out
06-19-2013, 01:40 PM
There is a great thread building up in the Basic Writing Questions section here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8247992#post8247992), should anyone need more tips on proofreading.

bearilou
06-19-2013, 02:55 PM
Love doing this. The word emphasis is different and you can hear sentences that need tweaking or are much too long. I read sentences aloud, too, but I'm reading with the inflection I intended, not what a reader might see.

Yes. This is why I don't hold a lot of stock in reading outloud. I'd rather run it through a text-to-speech thing first.

However, I wholly endorse reading backwards from end to beginning. I used to try sentence by sentence but that didn't work. I found paragraph by paragraph worked really well for me.

Also, another trick that I like is to change the font face and size.

Sometimes, I'll dust off a private LiveJournal and/or wordpress I have that holds segments and short stories. Seeing it formatted like that helps to pop errors out as well.

sarahdalton
06-19-2013, 03:15 PM
But if you've written dialogue in an accent, the text-to-speech will just make it sound funny.

I guess you can do both. Personally, I don't like the text-to-speech. It's slow and disjointed.

RLMcKeown
06-19-2013, 07:39 PM
You might be thinking of LBlankenship, who mentioned it on my diary. It's a great tip! I learned it in journalism school from a professor who was quite tough when it came to editing assignments. He'd fail us for a misspelled proper noun or an error in fact. Reading backwards really helps catch errors.

Ann Joyce
06-19-2013, 09:20 PM
Well then, thanks to LBlankenship for the best proof reading tip ever, IMO! And thanks for the link you suggested too, Sio. I did check it out.

I finally started a Facebook page, so I shared the reading backwards tip there too, and posted an excerpt from my next novel. I think that will be a good place to share writing tips from time to time.

I tried to link to the page, but I just don't have the necessary skills to do it. My oldest grandson will be here for a few days at the end of the month, and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to help me out. He's a computer savvy man!

shelleyo
06-19-2013, 09:46 PM
If that works for you, and you're happy with the process, fantastic! I guess I'm the odd one out, but after editing and proofreading as usual, I'd pay a proofreader before I'd read my book backwards paragraph by paragraph. That sounds like mind-numbing tedium to me, and a lot of time I could spend writing or substantively editing instead.

iron9567
06-20-2013, 06:55 PM
There are some really interesting tips and ideas for proof reading. I will have to keep these in mind when I finish my WIP.
thanks
iron

heza
06-20-2013, 09:42 PM
Oooohhhh... paragraph by paragraph. :e2smack:

My SO said that's how he edits, and I pictured him reading each sentence backward, like... backward sentence each reading him pictured I... it was all very Yoda-esque in my head, and I couldn't fathom how that'd be useful. :crazy:

This makes more sense.

:banana:

SBibb
06-24-2013, 06:14 AM
For me, I once printed a proof copy through Lulu so I could read a manuscript as if it were a book. I took notes in it regarding slow spots, or problems, and it helped me see it from a different view point.

Lately (for a first round of edits) I've started working on focusing on really tightening a single scene, then moving on. But that's not quite so helpful for figuring out the overall flow of the story.