Editing a manuscript can be very tedious work. But as I have been plugging through my manuscript for the umpteenth time I discovered something. There are two very different ways of reading your manuscript that gives you equal and extremely valuable results while editing. It’s all in the perspective of how you read it.
The Author Perspective is where you read through and you are only looking for the spelling and grammar errors, the hiccups in your rhythmic flow, the elusive words that were forgotten, and cutting the sections that really have no dynamic role in the course of your narrative. The whole time you are reading through your manuscript you feel as if some detestable grammar teacher is standing over your shoulder just waiting for you to miss something and smack you in the head with her yard stick.
The Reader Perspective is perhaps my favorite. This is the chance for you to step away from your role as an author and to clear your head of any knowledge of your story. Imagine you are picking up one of your favorite books and reading it once again. You don’t want to think about what you already know about the story, you want to immerse yourself into the story as if it is completely new and enjoy it all over again. Don’t think about looking for errors. Just sit back, get comfy, and enjoy the world you created as if you are reading it for the very first time. You will be amazed how many things pop out that you have never noticed before. Maybe the voice of one of your character’s sound out of place or you have added too much detail and dragged your narrative and made your story boring. You want to be the number one fan of your story. If something prevents you from enjoying your story as you would other books that you love then that is an immediate indication that something isn’t right. Always remember that if something is bothering you about your story, whether it is a word, or a paragraph, or a whole event, don’t leave it. If it bothers you then chances are it will bother your readers as well.
Even though editing can be tedious work, it’s your book. It’s your love and your passion. It’s your heart and soul that you put into every letter typed on that page. Clean it up, empty it of all the garbage and make it beautiful so that everything that you want to shine will shine through and your readers will love your story as much as you do.