Editing Induced Dyslexia

June 8, 2007 · 2 comments

I’ve heard people say that if you read your story backwards it makes it easier to see the mistakes. Isn’t that hard to do? I mean, reading the words backwards makes them different words, doesn’t it? Even if you start at “The End” it would read, “Dne Eth.” How can that help? Thank you. (yes, thinking up these questions is way more fun than folding laundry or cleaning boogers off the wall–please, don’t have another contest like this for a while so I can get caught up with my housework!)

Ha, ha!

Actually, reading your manuscript out of context is a great way to look for mistakes. I generally take it one line or paragraph at a time (reading the line forward) from the end of the novel.

Another help is reading it out loud. To another person. When I read out loud to just me, I tend to ignore myself.

What are some other tips?

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{ 2 comments }

Annette Lyon June 11, 2007 at 10:07 am

I just did this–proofed my manuscript backwards (it’s about to go to press). I’ve never done this before (it’s book #5), and I’m glad I did. No, I didn’t read the WORDS backwards. I did it a page at a time, and it does indeed help to read the book out of context so your brain doesn’t fill in what’s not supposed to be there (you know your own book too well–you’ll gloss over things and read what isn’t there, not catching mistakes). If the page started mid-paragraph, I’d go a little further back and read to the beginning of that paragraph. But YES, it absolutely helped to catch a bunch of inconsistencies that I, my editor, and 2 copyeditors, my critique group, and possibly some proofers had never, ever caught. I think it’s also helpful, because the first 100 pages or so often get the most attention. The end tends to gets rushed through for time. I wanted to be sure that the end wouldn’t get overlooked, so I started there first. Glad I did!

Anonymous June 14, 2007 at 6:43 pm

Another way to proof your book is to have the computer read it out loud to you. The computer will not add in missing words that we expect to be there and gloss over.

Marny Parkin
http://www.MormonSF.org

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