This topic is one that has hit home recently. With my second novel released, I felt like I should offer the bit of wisdom that I am gaining with each new book I finish. Depending on what software you prefer to word process your work, there are quite a few tools at your disposal to best benefit you in the editing area.
Before the final publishing for my newest novel, “The Shoreline” , I seriously contemplated sending it off to be professionally edited. I did some research, and most editing services were a bit out of my price range. I did happen to find one or two websites for people who fit into my budget, but they were swamped with submissions and wouldn’t have been able to work on my novel by the time I was hoping to release.
With these sad but true realizations, I found myself searching for other avenues for editing. I am confident in my writing ability and do not find my work to be riddled with mistakes, but I would rather my novel be the best it could for a more enjoyable read. The worst person to edit your writings is yourself. You already know what the sentence should read as, so a mistake is much easier to slip by you than a reader.
My research brought a few editing ideas, like have a trusted source read over your work. Many people within my network enjoy reading books as much as I do, so this was an easy suggestion to follow. A simple slip of ‘find me’ turning into ‘find be’ will read funny to someone who is enjoying your work for the first time.
Another was to use the “Find” tool. If you are using most any computer program, pressing CTRL+F simultaneously will call forth this search option. You can type a word into this box and it will find it within the content you are currently viewing. Within Microsoft Word 2007, I used this tool to find the commonly mistaken words, such as you’re, your, too, to, their, there, they’re, etc., to correct any mistypes.
The last tool I used was, of course, Spell/Grammar Check. DO NOT IGNORE! This simple tool so many people know exists is not used frequently enough. Most of us now rely on the auto-correct feature, so when we misspell addresss, we automatically think the software will fix it, but as seen above, the auto-correct does not always work. Before you consider any document complete, make sure you use this simple tool!
As my writing progresses, I will be sure to share every ounce of wisdom I find useful with my fellow independent authors. Happy writing!