Ahhh, revising. I don’t mean your friendly little cut and paste and then we’re done. I mean the fourth-time-through-the-novel kinda rehash. When the written word starts looking like Sanskrit and you find yourself Googling the plural possessive of “ours”--more than once. I actually woke up this morning from a dream in which I was editing my WIP. Good Lord, how did I get into this? I can’t even keep my sock drawer in order, not to mention sixty-five thousand words and all the rotten little dots and dashes that go along with them! Criminy. What was I thinking?
I’ve been reading a lot about the revising process lately. Someone, I’m not sure who, recommended that to find all the typos I should read my manuscript backwards. Oh yes, his name was Eloh-ssa. Someone else suggested “it might be worth it” to spend three grand to get a professional edit. Sorry, but it ain’t worth it in THIS house-hold. What I really need to do is to stop obsessing on Twitter over the latest contest and go to work so I can afford to buy a new fridge. The one we’ve got sounds like a clothes-dryer full of tennis-shoes.
The best technique I have found for editing my manuscript is to submit it to an agent. Then, when I reread the email I sent said agent, I will spot all the myriad of mistakes that somehow, previously slipped my eye: A glaring incorrect “their” (it must be auto-correct, right?); the fact that I obviously think colons should be used for digestive purposes only; and the blatant overuse of my characters name as a mind-numbing form of thought-control. (I really didn’t use it eleven times in the first 250 did I?) However, this type of editing tends to be counter-productive.
So my dear talented Peeps, I thought perhaps you might be willing to throw me a bone and help a fellow writer embarking on this part of the journey. Listed below are a plethora of questions for which I am seeking answers. Rather than scan the web for unreliable answers, I thought to ask those writers near and dear to my heart. You have all been so helpful in the past. I hope to glean as much wisdom as possible from your writerly experience. Feel free to answer all, some or none. I'll still love you--and more importantly, will still read you.
*How do you know when your manuscript is ready to send to Beta Readers?*Do your beta readers check for typos, spelling and grammar or just overall flow and feel?
*Do you send your readers a questionnaire (of sorts) along with the MS ?*What questions do you put on said questionnaire?
*Do you use Google Docs?
*Do you send it out to one reader at a time, and then fix the whatevers, and then send it out to the next reader or do you cast a wide net?
Many thanks.~Just Jill
P.S. My dream-editing was right on. I axed the whole paragraph this morning.
P.S.S. Please check out Kirsten Lamb's book, "We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media" on Amazon here!