Friday, December 7, 2007

Make it Shine

I picked up my new glasses last night and was pleased at how much better I could see. Everything seemed clearer and brighter, like I had a fresh new pair of eyes.

Do you try to look at your manuscript with a fresh pair of eyes before you turn it in? An author told me recently how she often has a book written ahead of deadline but will put it away for a few weeks and then return to it for another look with a new perspective. I know other authors who have mentioned doing this, too. It's a great idea and something this editor sure appreciates. There's usually quite a difference in the manuscript that has been quickly written to squeeze in under the deadline and the one that has been carefully timed and gone over with fresh eyes before it's turned in.

Susan talked about deadlines on Wednesday and how we editors understand that unexpected events sometime affect your writing time and meeting your deadlines. And we know how busy life can be and that many of you work other jobs in addition to writing. But if you can, take the deadline your editor gives you and shorten it by a couple weeks or so. Strive to write your full manuscript by that “padded” deadline and you’ll find yourself with extra time at the end to really polish your work. Maybe even enough time to take a break and return to it with new ideas and insight. If nothing else, you can at least catch some of those little errors and typos that managed to sneak in. Like Susan said, we notice when manuscripts are late, and we also notice (and greatly appreciate!) when manuscripts are on time and really shine.


Pam Hillman said...

I strive to go over my manuscripts for "minor tweaks" one last time. Recently, I even edited my edited version. lol I had gotten a line edit from someone and spent a couple of days making corrections.

I decided to read through for punctuation and grammatical errors one last time before I sent it off. And lo and behold, several errors showed up that had occured during the hectic rewrite! Ack!

I'm sure I didn't catch everything, but that last run-through was definitely worth the effort.

Mary Connealy said...

I really like working with a critique group, too. It's amazing the things they catch.
I've got a real problem writing 'you' when I mean 'your' and a few other little weirdnesses like that. Of course the spellcheck isn't going to catch THAT.

Vickie said...

I try to never turn in a manuscript that hasn't been critiqued. It's interesting how different crit partners will find different typos or content booboos. One of my favorite goofs was where I had a horse tiptoeing. :) Now, don't ask me why I wrote that. I have no clue, but we all had a good laugh over it.

Another thing I do--if there's time--is to run my story through one of those verbal readers. It's amazing the goofs you'll find when you hear your story being read back to you.

Julie Carobini said...

I too try to finish early, and then have several people read through my draft before I send it to my pub. for the first round of edits. I always feel much safer sending the book in after that :)