Make your work as unfamiliar as hell.
When you’re proof reading, you are trying to trick your brain into pretending that it’s reading the thing for the first time. Stafford suggests that if you want to catch your own errors, you should try to make your work as unfamiliar as possible. Change the font or background color, or print it out and edit by hand. “Once you’ve learned something in a particular way, it’s hard to see the details without changing the visual form,” he said.
And it works!
Currently in the editing trenches for A Truth University Acknowledged, and I’ve been at an editing loss. If someone else looks over my work, they immediately see typos that I never notice. My Crimson Romance editor, Julie Sturgeon, says, “…you don’t see a lot of things in your manuscript because you’d have to flip the switch from creative to analytical, and then you can’t create!”
I’ve been having issues with editing. Like to the point of: “Oh, well, that’s the second time I’ve read that chapter and it sucks but I can’t think of what to change so BYE.”
Clearly not an effective way to edit.
But Nick Stockton’s article helped a lot. He says you have to view your work in a way that’s completely different than any way you’ve seen it – literally.
You can choose to do the same, but you can also change the font on your document, or post it in a WordPress draft and edit it from there. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure to see the words outside of your Word document.
Now that I’m looking at my work through different lenses (Wattpad, pasting it in an e-mail draft and looking at it, reading it from my phone), errors have become much easier to spot!
You can read over a typo again and again but you won’t pick it up because you’ve been looking at the story in the same format. Once you change formats, you change as a reader. Your eye thinks it’s looking at a story for the first time.
Got another editing tip you can’t do without? Be sure to share in the comments below! Or let me know how you plan to change your story’s format for editing.