Well, this can be challenging for an editor. One of my clients, recently asked me if I would prefer to read her manuscript in printed form as it was easier for her to read it that way and was kind enough to offer to print her book for me and send it via snail-mail. This wasn’t necessary, as the last several years I’d adjusted myself to be able to read online, especially for work, having spent my adult life on the computer. (For pleasure, I still enjoy the old fashioned curling up with a good book where I can feel the thickness of the cover and smell the ink and paper. But, work and the computer are synonymous for me.)
Plus, making corrections on paper seems antiquated to me, now. Sometimes, I’ll make a note, only to have my question or concern answered a few lines or paragraphs down. Also, note making or rewriting sentences and paragraphs are a lot more challenging on paper. It’s much cleaner to have these marks electronically. That and it feels kinder. (Perhaps it’s my memories of my work in school being marked up in red ink, but a tangible mark on a piece of paper feels more permanent – like the difference between writing in pencil versus ink.)
But, either way, paper or onscreen editing, it doesn’t rectify the problem with my brain filling in the errors for me. Where does my “eagle eye” come from? I think it comes from reading aloud, something I recently found myself doing. It’s not louder than a whisper, and sometimes it’s me just moving my lips. I think the combination of these two activities forces me to see things I might otherwise miss.
Try it. Especially if you’re stuck on your dialogue writing. Hearing it spoken out loud will test how natural the words sound. You’ll also be surprised how many more errors you spot.
Do you read your work out loud before submitting it? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Writer, Editor & Co-founder