The last couple of weeks I have hunkered down doing the final edit of The Price of Pandemonium, as you may know from my last post that outlined my frustrations with adverbs. In doing this, I have discovered one method of editing that is far too useful to keep to myself.
As you may have heard it said before, there’s nothing more helpful than reading your own writing aloud to yourself. Only by hearing it do you realize where there is a misplaced comma, or perhaps a missed word, or an extra word. Sometimes, there is the wrong word completely. Because my voice soon becomes worn out (it’s pretty hard reading a whole novel out loud), I have developed a method for this: I simply highlight a small section at a time, and get my computer to read it to me.
It sounds horrendous, using a computer generated voice that is utterly devoid of emotion, and I admit it’s not perfect. Sometimes it does say things a little oddly, but mostly I find the lack of emotion beneficial. It is immediately apparent if the imagery isn’t strong enough, and if the computer trips over the words, nine times out of ten it tripped due to an error in the manuscript.
It’s such a useful way of editing that I’ve started going over When the Rain Falls one more time to find any stray issues. Keep in mind that this is a manuscript we have slaved over; Ashley and I have both revised this manuscript so many times that I’ve lost count. So far, I’m finding an average of two errors per chapter in this final edit. That’s a lot of errors for a ‘finished’ novel! My favorite one yesterday that gave me a chuckle was about a “streaming mug of tea”, which immediately brought visions to the mind of a cartoonish mug with several holes shot through it, and tea pouring out the bottom. I decided that was not how it was intended, and changed “streaming” to “steaming”.
Edit: Is it ever ‘finished’? Check out Ashley’s post on using Grammarly, where she went over it AGAIN months later.