“Good writers are not always good editors, and certainly, good editors are not always good writers. However, you need to take on the editor’s role when you are ready for the revision stage. First, walk away from your text for at least twenty-four hours. Then, as you read through your material, take an editor’s approach and see how you can tweak your work to make it better.”
-via The Writer’s Daily Companion: 365 Inspirations and Writing Tips by Amy Peters
I’m currently writing a novel set in New Mexico, and as of May 18 of this year, I’ve written 41K words. Even though I have three finished novels still to be edited, I needed this new story to get over the doldrums from wearing just the editor’s hat for the first six months with nothing to show for it because obviously, I love creating new stories more.
But given that editing is a necessary skill as a writer (you still have to send your work out to editors, of course, or at least, have trusted beta readers), there are certain apps that have helped make the process less painful.
First, I have Grammarly, although it’s an app I don’t use as much as I should because I write in Markdown using Ulysses and I have to copy and paste the text into the Grammarly app, lose all the formatting (italics, primarily) and then copy and paste the corrected text back to Ulysses. Then, I have to go through each paragraph to add in the extra hard returns required in Markdown. Maybe there’s a way to do this better but until then, that’s how it works for me. I also have ProWriting Aid, but I don’t plan to use that until I finish the novel, that way, I won’t have so many edited versions of an unfinished manuscript.
What I do use conscientiously is Voice Dream Writer. It’s my favorite app of all, next to Ulysses that allows my text to be read by my trusted text-to-voice reader Salli, which is the same voice that my Kindle Fire uses to read books out loud (which is not to be confused with an Audible audiobook). I usually read my chapters out loud but when I’m at McDonald’s in the Play Place surrounded by screaming kids and my kid is having the time of his life with the other kids, I can do my editing while Salli reads out the words I just wrote. Most times, I do this while I’m in bed, editing the words I wrote during the day right on the app.
It’s amazing to me just how much I catch as far as the rhythm and cadence of my sentences, grammar mistakes, or whether the dialogue sounds wooden or natural. I can pause the voice while I edit as I go and then resume with a touch of button. While I can edit the text right on Voice Dream Writer, I can also edit it on Ulysses while Salli continues reading the story. If you like reading your work out loud, definitely check out Voice Dream Writer, and go check out Salli’s voice, which is an additional purchase but way worth it.
Of course, after the book is done, it’s good to do the full read-through of the whole manuscript and send it out to your editor, or at least have another set of eyes to catch things you, and in my case, Salli, fail to catch.
I also have Voice Dream, which reads out ARC’s (as long as they’re sent in ePub format), blog posts, and news articles that I save right on my phone. It’s great when I have to do the laundry or cook dinner.
What’s your writing/editing/revising process like? Do you enjoy editing as much as writing?