A cool editing tip – ninja typos
I’m almost finished one of the three WIPs I’ve been working on. It’s called The Devil Seam and is about a best-selling author who is kidnapped by a serial killer who wants her to write his life story. As with most of my books it’s got twists and turns and has been a lot of fun in the making.
I’ve only got one chapter to go and when I get to this stage of the process I start editing.
One thing I notice when I write is (I) have the annoying habit (of) leaving out small words (in) the manuscript. When I first started writing (I) would get my manuscript back (from) an editor (or) beta reader and it would look (a) bit like this paragraph (well, not quite this bad, but you get my drift). Other mistakes I can make are leaving the r off her or writing were instead of where and of instead of off or if – those kind of annoying little things.
I’m sure I do this because my mind races ahead when I write. I’ve got the entire scene in my head and my brain is ten steps ahead of my fingers that are trying to catch up on the keyboard.
I call these kinds of typos ninja typos because they’re so well camouflaged – particularly in the eyes of the author. When I read my manuscript I usually read what I intended to write, and sometimes this isn’t what is actually on the page. Occasionally I’ll see one and then I get caught up in the story and my mind skips over them again. I read somewhere that even the best editors find it hard to pick up two of these ninja typos if they’re in the same sentence.
I’ve discovered a way to pick these up. It can be fairly painful at times, but it’s well worth the effort. I have Adobe Reader read the manuscript to me electronically. The electronic voice doesn’t know the story or get caught up in the action of the big fight scene or the love scenes or the cliff-hangers. It just reads every word that is typed on the page (in a very monotone voice).
You don’t get the inflections you would if a real reader was reading it (this is why it can be painful), but you certainly pick up missed words or the occasional misspelling (for example, scrap vs scrape).
It’s not a cure-all, but it goes a long way to assist in the editing process.
How this is done.
- Save As – your manuscript to PDF
- Once it is saved, go to View – Read Out Loud
- Activate Read Out Loud
- Click on paragraphs and the reader will read it to you.
I did this yesterday and picked up about 10 mistakes in 30,000 words so my fingers must be getting faster on the keyboard!
In the meantime, here’s a picture of the first flowers on my Frangipani. I planted the tree from a cutting earlier this year.
Have a great week and happy editing!