Three Life-changing Editing Tips

I've spent the last few months editing and I've learned three tips that have made editing SO much easier.  I've caught things I never would have caught and gained a whole new perspective on my work.  Here are the three tips that have been a huge help:

1) Read your manuscript on an e-reader.

This is honestly the MOST USEFUL tip I've picked up.  Most agents and editors read manuscripts on e-readers.  Many of your readers will be reading on an e-reader.  Therefore, it only makes sense that you should do the same.  Reading your manuscript on an e-reader is a completely different experience from reading it on your screen or reading it in hard copy.  

For me, reading my work on an e-reader helps me read it like a reader rather than a writer.  I loved a draft of one of my manuscripts until I read it on my e-reader.  What seemed so exciting on my computer screen, suddenly felt flat.  Fortunately, I was able to see problems I hadn't been able to catch before and fix them.  

I recommend having a notebook close by to jot down overarching notes while you read.  Don't worry about detailed edits, just look for broad impact, like a reader would.  Check for places that you are pulled out of the story and flag them.

2) Print out a hard copy and edit by hand. 

I ALWAYS edit by hand on at least one draft.  This approach really lets you catch small flaws in your writing (ie typos and punctuation).  Hard copy editing is CRITICAL to polishing your work.  I tend to write short, so hard copy editing also helps me find places where I want to expand or add a new scene.

3) Read your work out loud.

I LOVE reading my work out loud.  It's a great way to check pacing and make sure you're happy with sentence construction.  It also helps you check your voice to make sure your words have the maximum impact and flow.  You can find programs that will read your work to you (because it can get tiring).  I don't usually read my entire manuscript out loud, but I like to read the beginning and the end, as well as particularly critical or troublesome passages.

I always love picking up new tips.  What editing tips have worked for you?