My Services: Proofreading

            Editing is a vital part of the publication process. There are many types of editing, and their definitions can vary depending on the editor. Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing the editing services that I offer and explaining my processes. Today, we’ll be discussing proofreading.

What Is It?

            Proofreading is your last line of defense before you publish your manuscript. It is for reviewing page proofs to find any stubborn typos that survived the editing process. It also looks at format and design to make sure that everything looks right and is easy to read. As the last editing step, proofreading is by far the most detailed.

Who Is It For?

            Because proofreading is the last check before publication, it is for authors who are ready to publish their work. There should be no need to alter the text or make significant changes to your manuscript. The way the manuscript looks when proofreading is done is the way it should look after publication.

What Is the Process?

            When proofreading, I start by looking at grammar, punctuation, and spelling to make sure there are no persisting typos. Afterward, I check that the manuscript has adhered to its style guide or house style. Because this is usually the last time the manuscript will be edited, I begin proofreading during my first reading. I don’t want to become overly familiar with the text.

            Once I am done with these checks, I turn my attention to more particular items. I check images, lists, headings, page numbers, and table of contents to make sure that nothing is missing and that all are formatted correctly. Bullet points should be parallel, headings should be formatted the same, and the design should not be pulling the reader’s attention away from the text. There are hundreds of small details that can have a big affect on your manuscript and, therefore, need to be perfect.

            My last check is for quotations and references. These are hot spots for trouble that deserve special attention, which is why I take special care to ensure accuracy and completeness. Proofreading doesn’t usually include fact-checking, but I do some if I believe it is needed. After I am done checking everything, I will read the proofs one last time to make sure that it looks good and to finalize all my edits.

Conclusion

            Proofreading is the point at which you can iron out the final details of your manuscript. How your manuscript will look once it is published is decided at this stage. I try to help you with making all your final changes by thoroughly checking your manuscript’s text, style, and design.

My Services: Copy Editing

            What type of editing you choose for your manuscript depends on who the editor is and what your editing goals are. I have been sharing what types of editing I offer, how I define them, and what my process looks like. So far, we have discussed developmental and line editing. This week, we will talk about what copy editing is and who can benefit from it.

What Is It?

            When most people picture editing, they are thinking about copy editing. Copy editing is about correcting grammar, spelling, and other typos. Not everyone realizes that copy editing goes beyond mechanics to include writing style. A copy editor checks that the author or publisher’s writing style is applied consistently throughout the manuscript. This editing process is all about reviewing the details.

Who Is It For?

            Copy editing comes toward the end of the publication process. At this point, you should have developed the manuscript’s structure and reworded the text. All the significant changes have already been made, and you are ready to polish your manuscript. Essentially, if you are ready to publish your book but want to make sure you have a clean manuscript, copy editing is what you need.

What Is the Process?

            I work from a checklist but adjust depending on what your manuscript needs. My first reading of your manuscript will usually tell me enough to know how I need to adapt. I then start with running spell check and editing software (with the client’s permission). From there, I will move on to checking grammar, punctuation, and spelling. After I have reviewed all of the language mechanics, I move on to style. Here, I look for such things as proper word usage, good sentence length, and consistency in applying style rules.

            My next step is to fact-check if the client wishes (although I spot check a manuscript if I see a red flag). I also check readability. Vague wording can hide problems with facts. After I finish working through my checklist, I will read the manuscript one last time. This is to ensure that I have caught everything and that my changes make sense.

Conclusion

            Copy editing is more focused on the details than other types of editing are. It is about providing you with clean copy that is ready for publication. The details of your manuscript are just as important as the big picture. Copy editing can polish those details so that they present your ideas well.

My Services: Line Editing

            The type of editing you choose depends on what you need and where you are in the writing process. It also depends on the editor’s definition of the different types. Over the next several posts, I’ll be describing the types of editing I offer, who they are for, and what my process is. Last time, we looked at developmental editing. Today, we’ll be discussing line editing.

What Is It?

            Line editing is about structure and style. Line editing is like developmental editing in its focus on structure. Unlike developmental editing, it also looks at style choices. With line editing, I work by paragraph, by line, and by word. With each part, I look for certain elements to make sure that your manuscript is using all its potential.

Who Is It For?

            Line editing is for authors who want to ensure that their manuscripts are clear and strong. You’ve done some rewriting and developed the text. Now, you want to make sure that your work uses concise wording and makes a strong presentation of your ideas.

What Is the Process?

            In my line editing process, I try to work in sections through the manuscript. I will read the manuscript first. Afterward, I take care of any housekeeping items such as running spellcheck and removing extra spaces. From there, I begin editing by looking at the big picture. Depending on the manuscript, that will either be by chapter or by section. I mostly look for sound structure, good transitions, and consistent style choices.

            Next, I move on to a paragraph view. This step is where the process becomes more detailed. With each paragraph, I consider not only the structure and flow into surrounding paragraphs but also the value of the paragraph. I try to define the point of it so that I can determine if there is a better way to word it. If necessary, I’ll suggest new wording so that it can better present your point. Each paragraph needs to add something. No parts of a manuscript get to slack off!

            After looking at the paragraphs, I move on to sentences. Once again, every sentence must serve a purpose. I look for what that purpose is and how well that sentence is doing its job. I keep an eye out for jargon, triteness, and proper tone. I will also look at consistency and determine if there is a way to say the same thing with fewer, clearer words.

            Finally, I look at each word. I consider the meaning—especially connotation—color, tone, and clarity. Each word needs to be strong and vivid to help carry the idea of the manuscript and keep the reader’s interest.

            Once I complete the editing, I read the manuscript one more time. I want to make sure that I haven’t introduced any errors while I was making changes or missed errors that were already present.

Conclusion

            Line editing is ideal for making sure your developed manuscript is strong and has consistent style choices. With a line edit, I can help you catch any mistakes in the important details of your manuscript.

My Services: Developmental Editing

            Editing is so much more than correcting grammar and punctuation. It has a much broader focus. Every editor has their definition of what editing is. During these next few blog posts, I’ll be giving more detailed descriptions of the types of editing I offer. I will explain what each type of editing is, who it is ideal for, and what my process is. Today, we will take a closer look at developmental editing.

What Is It?

            Developmental editing is about strengthening a manuscript’s structure and content. The “bones” of the manuscript, such as plot, setting, flow, and tone, are all important in this editing process. Although I might suggest corrections for grammar and spelling, it is not my first priority during a developmental edit. This process is about giving your manuscript a solid foundation for presenting your ideas.

Who Is It for?

            Developmental editing is heavy-handed, which makes it ideal for rough drafts or unfinished projects that are in trouble. It is also helpful for authors who are starting out and still learning their craft. It can even be good for a few chapters to help the author gauge what developmental stage their manuscript is at.

What Is the Process?

            I have a checklist I follow with each edit. Before I edit anything, I always take the time to read it. I want to know what I’m getting into before I rearrange things. Afterward, I take care of housekeeping items such as spellcheck and removing extra spaces. I will usually customize my checklist to include any problems that caught my attention during the first reading.

            The first things I focus on are titles and headings. They need to be engaging enough to catch your reader’s attention while informing the reader about what is coming in the text. The next focus is the introduction and conclusion. Both paragraphs are usually strong because authors spend the most time perfecting them. I make sure that the paragraphs are engaging for readers, plainly state (or restate) the point, and fit together cohesively.

            Next, I look at the structure of the manuscript. I make sure that the ideas in the introduction are carried throughout the manuscript. They need to be expanded logically in the text. As I move through the manuscript, I look for plot holes, inconsistencies, poor descriptions, inaccuracies, and ill-timed pacing. I want the content to have value for both you and your reader. You should feel that your content is expressing your ideas clearly; and the reader should find your manuscript intriguing and easy to understand.

            My next concern is logic and flow. These aspects overlap with structure because they are related. I look for good transitions between paragraphs and logical flow through the manuscript. The text isn’t the only focus in this part. It is also important that extra content, such as charts or images, tie into the surrounding text and add value to the manuscript.

            I always take special care to look at dialogue. It needs to flow like a natural conversation and make sense to the reader. If the dialogue is forced, the reader won’t believe it and will be turned off from the story. Depending on your manuscript’s setting, the dialogue also needs to fit within the location and time. It is a critical part of building your manuscript’s world.

            My next concern is the tone and voice. The tone will let your manuscript make the right impression on your readers. I make sure that the tone is appropriate and stays consistent. For voice, I ensure that your manuscript has more active voice than passive so that it will exude confidence and authority.

            Finally, I will look at clarity and accuracy. I put these elements last because they are so important. These two are imperative for every type of writing, which makes it important for me to address any existing issues with them. Above all else, the reader needs to clearly understand the manuscript and trust that the information is accurate. With all my projects, I do one final read-through to make sure I haven’t introduced new errors into the manuscript while I was making significant changes.

Conclusion

            What you get from an editing process depends on who the editor is and what type of editing they are doing. I view developmental editing as a process that helps authors create a well-structured manuscript out of their rough drafts. Developmental editing looks at all the important elements of writing to ensure that they will support the content of your work and successfully share your ideas with your readers.

How to Write Clear and Meaningful Articles

            Grammar rules and style guides have several differences. One difference is their goals. Style guides have two goals that grammar rules are not always concerned with: meaning and clarity. These are two goals that you should have for your writing as well. Achieving clear and meaningful writing will help you create better articles for your readers.

Express Your Purpose through Meaning

            Meaning is critical to writing. You need a purpose for your writing, or it will go nowhere very fast. It is possible to use a lot of words and say nothing at all. I see it all the time in business documents. You don’t want your writing to be the same way.

            The best method to ensure your writing is saying what you want it to is slowing down when you write. It is common advice to write your first draft without stopping so that you can get words on the page. When you start your revisions, you need to take the time to rethink your word choices.

            First, you need to lay out what you intend your article to say. Then, look at the phrases you used and think about what they mean. Do their meanings match your intent? Are they expressing what you want? It is easy to fall into routines when you write and use the same jargon, buzzwords, and trite expressions. By going through the thought process and challenging yourself to define the words, you can find better ways of saying what you want that will carry more meaning.

Promote Understanding with Clarity

            Meaning and clarity are closely related and work together. You can use words that pinpoint your meaning, but they won’t fully do their job unless they are clear to your readers. Both you and your readers need to understand the meaning for the article to serve its purpose. Clarity, in conjunction with meaning, makes that happen.

            The best way to achieve clarity is to be precise and concise. Don’t hedge around your meaning. Use words that will state it plainly, or as an editor would say, use plain language. If you bury your meaning in vague wording, jargon, or a long string of modifiers, the reader won’t be able to make sense out of it.

            Being precise leans heavily on meaning. Try to find words that get close to the nuance of meaning you wish to convey. A thesaurus is handy for this purpose. You don’t want to get so specific that you use obscure words that the average reader has never heard, but you do want to use strong, vivid wording. It is a balancing act that requires thought on your part.

            Conciseness will come from cutting out unnecessary modifiers, phrases, and dependent clauses. You are writing an article, not poetry. I’m reminding myself of this even as I’m telling you. I tend towards using long sentences full of phrases. You need a balance so that you don’t lose your author’s voice but still use minimal phrases so that your point is clear to your reader.

Conclusion

            Meaning and clarity are two goals for you as a writer that work together to help you achieve better articles. Meaning will help you state your purpose to your readers, and clarity makes sure those readers understand that purpose. You can look to style guides, your style sheet, and common sense to help you develop the meaning and clarity of your writing.

An Introduction to Eggcorns and Malapropisms

            Both native English-speakers and those who learn the language later can agree on one thing: English is hard! There are many complexities in English, including odd spellings and long lists of exceptions to grammar rules. A new set of problems form when you try to write what you usually say or vice versa. Today, we are going to focus on two mistakes—eggcorns and malapropisms—and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 – Eggcorns

            The first type of mistake has, admittedly, a fun name. Eggcorns are words and phrases that people mishear, and therefore, write down incorrectly. The name is one example. Some writers mistakenly write “eggcorn” instead of “acorn.” Another eggcorn is writing “all intensive purposes” instead of “all intents and purposes.” I saw that mistake several days ago while reading the news online.

            If you try pronouncing some of these eggcorns out loud, you will quickly see how they’ve come into being. It is easy to misunderstand someone with the way English-speakers often smash sounds together or cut off the ends of words. It also doesn’t help that English words aren’t always spelled the way they sound (i.e. cough, though, and slough). If you want to see more of these eggcorns, you can visit the Eggcorn Database[1] or watch the video series about eggcorns on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s website.

Mistake #2 – Malapropisms

            The second type of mistake is a malapropism. This mistake is common, especially when someone is learning new vocabulary. Malapropisms are words that sound similar, which causes the writer or speaker to switch the words. The switched words can create a lot of confusion because their meanings are nothing alike. I get my favorite malapropism from a novel. The heroine says “indigestion” when she means “indignation.”

            Malapropisms are named after the character from an 18th century play. In The Rivals, Mrs. Malaprop regularly mixes up words that sound alike but don’t have the same meaning. If you are curious about it like I was, you can find a transcript of the play on Project Gutenberg’s website[2].

Precaution #1 – Be Vigilant

            Knowing what the mistakes are is a good start, but there are several things you can do to avoid eggcorns and malapropisms in your writing. One action is learning to be cautious in using what you read or hear. Don’t automatically believe that everything is correct. Treat phrases and new words as wrong until proven accurate. Do some research to make sure it’s correct before you start using it in your writing. Assuming is a good way to fall into these mistakes. Question them and be willing to fact-check.

Precaution #2 – Look It Up

            Fact-checking in dictionaries and usage manuals is an excellent habit to form. It is one of your greatest safeguards against mistakes. I would suggest depending more on usage manuals than dictionaries because the latter only tells you how words are used, not what is correct standard usage. To save yourself time, you should write down or bookmark any mistakes that you find yourself susceptible to so that you don’t have to waste time looking it up every time you run into it.

Precaution #3 – Avoid Figures of Speech

            A final thing you can do is clean up your writing. Don’t use a lot of expressions and figures of speech. Try to use word choice to express your style instead of waxing poetic. If you stay true to your meaning and use plain English, you’re less likely to run into trouble. I know that is easier said than done (see what I did there), but with practice, you can write concisely and clearly without losing any of your meaning.

Conclusion

            Eggcorns and malapropisms are mistakes that can trip up writers because of pronunciations and spellings. Words that sound alike or are spelled similarly are easy to mistake for each other. By not trusting what you hear, looking things up, and removing unnecessary phrasing, you can create copy that is free of these two mistakes and easy for your readers to understand. Do you know of any good eggcorns or malapropisms? Share them in the comments!


[1] https://eggcorns.lascribe.net/

[2] http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24761

How to Balance Historical Accuracy with Readers’ Expectations

            Writing historical fiction can be exciting, but it is not always simple. Besides the necessary research about your chosen period, you also need to consider the assumptions your readers make about that period. Modern thought and conveniences often skew our idea of what other periods were like. You can balance your readers’ assumptions with historical facts by taking three steps.

Learn the Common Conventions

            The first step you can take is learning the conventions fictional authors use for the historical period you want to write about. You can research in books and on websites about writing fiction to find information and examples. It is also helpful to read a lot of historical fiction so that you can see the conventions in action and how they affect the novel. You can apply these conventions to your manuscript as you recreate your chosen period and, possibly, introduce new facts to your readers.

            While you are considering historical fiction conventions, you should remember that you need the appearance of historical accuracy even though you will have to bend the facts to make them work for modern fiction. The most common example is language. If your manuscript is placed far back in time, you won’t be able to accurately portray the language in a way that readers will understand. On the other hand, some words feel too modern and will stand out to readers, even if those words were used in that period. Authors work around this problem by word choice and sentence structure to give their novel the feel of another time. Whatever you do write needs to have the illusion of historical accuracy so that it doesn’t provoke skepticism or bog down readers with too many facts. Readers that don’t believe you or find your book difficult to read won’t finish it.

Choose Your Battles Wisely

            The second step you can take is choosing your battles wisely. As I mentioned before, you don’t want to annoy or inundate your readers with too much information. That is why you need to choose what things you are going to include carefully. You are telling a story, not lecturing about history. You can inform readers about accurate history without overwhelming them, especially if you are subtle with how you introduce it. You shouldn’t be afraid to introduce historical facts either. Many readers like learning new things while they read a novel, especially if it fits nicely within a good story.

            The quantity of information is one potential problem, but so is the type of information. Some things are easier to add than others. Even though most readers will expect a Victorian woman to ride a bicycle just like men, they probably won’t mind if she has a lady’s tricycle instead. Readers will be more divided about something such as a mother in the 1910s sending her baby through the post office to visit his grandparents. Some will find it funny; some will find it horrifying; and some won’t believe it at all. Both are historically accurate, but one is more likely to strike a nerve than the other. When you include facts, they need to be believable for a modern audience. That means you either need to introduce things that readers will easily match with a modern equivalent or use the story, especially the characters, to give the fact believability.

Talk with an Expert

            The third step you can take is having a beta reader or a historical fiction editor look at your manuscript. Their reactions will give you a definite answer on what readers will probably think of your novel. You know what you know, which makes it is harder for you to judge what your readers will think about the subject. A beta reader or editor can fill that gap for you and help you know what to expect. The editor can even help you correct any parts that don’t work well or won’t receive positive responses.

Conclusion

            Accuracy is important, but you need to consider what readers will expect. You don’t want to jolt your readers out of the story with unexpected details or bore them with too much information. You can strike a balance between assumptions and accuracy by researching the common conventions, choosing your battles wisely, and working with a beta reader or editor.

How to Develop Characters and Setting with Word Usage

Writers have many tools available to them for developing their characters and setting. These tools give readers clues of where and when something happened. Writers use descriptions, culture references, and many other things to develop their story. Another, more subtle, way of developing both characters and setting is by the words you use. If you carefully choose your story’s tone and wording, you can make your characters and setting come alive for your readers.

Tone

One way you can use words to develop your characters and setting is through tone. In a novel, tone works quietly in the background, suggesting certain assumptions to your readers that give them a more accurate picture of your novel’s world. You can achieve better descriptions through tone for your setting in several ways. Both the tone of the narrator and of the characters around your protagonist will shape your setting. How the narrator chooses to describe the scene and the behavior of minor characters will give your readers an overall impression. It’s similar to the first impression you get when you walk into a building.

For an example, let’s say you have a scene at a courthouse. You can achieve different pictures based on tone. If you use the formal speech that the judges and lawyers are familiar with and grand words to describe the courthouse, it will give the lofty feeling associated with law. You can also go in the opposite direction. You can choose fast, clipped dialogue and words that suggest a busy, chaotic environment that helps readers experience the same confusion or uncertainty your protagonist is experiencing.

You can also use tone to develop your characters. Once again, you can achieve this several ways. How the narrator describes the character, how other characters perceive him, and the personality of the character all work together to give the reader an impression without you telling the reader the facts about this character. By using tone, you are leaving behind enough clues that readers will come to the conclusion on their own.

Word Choice

Tone is useful, but it only works in combination with word usage. Meaning and connotation are factors in choosing the right words, but you also need to think about language development. Don’t make assumptions about words: they are not as old or new as you might think. Because we use our vocabulary every day, we can forget that those phrases and meanings did not always exist.

For example, I noticed the word “paranoid” in my book manuscript while proofreading. It stood out, which led to my looking it up. My manuscript’s plot is placed in the 1890s. The word “paranoid” showed up in scientific texts in the early 1900s. Words are usually used in speech before they show up in text, but that didn’t matter in this case because I wasn’t using the scientific sense. To be certain of accuracy, I replaced the word with “cynical,” which has been in use since the 1500s. It got my meaning across while staying true to my chosen period.

The word change might sound like nit-picking, but the point is that words can create a place and time because of their history. Popular meanings and phrases change with the times. Just listen to a teenager talk. The words are familiar, but the meaning is not. You should use the changes in language to recreate the world your plot is placed in. You can even assign new meanings to words as you create your world. You don’t have to be as exact as I have been, but you should be intentional about the words you use.

Conclusion

The tone and words you use will create a detailed setting for your novel and suggest certain assumptions to your readers about the characters. By choosing your manuscript’s tone and wording carefully, you can better develop your story without needing to tell your readers the facts right out. Words are powerful, and you can use them for your story’s benefit.

Apostrophes Explained

            Writers seem to become more frustrated and confused by apostrophes than any other punctuation mark. Apostrophes are an important part of English, which makes correct usage imperative. Instead of guessing at where an apostrophe should go, you can confidently use this punctuation by remembering their three main functions.

Function #1: Possession

            The first function, and most common, is creating the possessive form of words. Writers show possession by either adding an apostrophe or an apostrophe with an s to a word. Which one you choose depends on who is doing the possessing. If you have a singular noun, you need to add the apostrophe with an s. An example is “Tom’s books.” If you have a plural noun, you need to add only an apostrophe. An example of this is “the boys’ books.”

There are two exceptions to this rule. The first applies to singular words that end with an s, such as James. You could write them with just an apostrophe, but for the sake of clarity, several style guides recommend that you use the apostrophe with an s. In my writing, I decide case-by-case. I’m more old school in my preferences for punctuation, which means I often use only an apostrophe. I will sometimes add the s if I think it necessary for clarity’s sake. For example, you can write either “James’ book” or “James’s book.” Unless you are following a style guide, you should choose whichever you prefer and stay with it.

The second exception involves plural words that are formed without an s, such as children or mice. These words are treated like they are singular and receive an apostrophe with an s. The best way to remember this is that if it doesn’t already have an s, you will need to add one to make it possessive.

Function #2: Contractions

            The second function of apostrophes is creating contractions. English-speakers are adept at contracting their words and omitting letters when they speak. To replicate that in writing, apostrophes indicate places where the writer omitted letters. For contractions, the apostrophe will often go towards the end of the word. So, for instance, “I don’t have that book.” The apostrophe indicates that “do not” has been contracted into one word with the o removed.

Apostrophes can also indicate the omission of letters elsewhere in a word. For example, “That cake is lookin’ good.” The apostrophe takes the place of the omitted g. In these situations, the apostrophe goes wherever you omitted letters.

Contractions and other omissions can be useful to make writing have the same natural flow of speech. However, you want to keep track of how many contractions you are using. Too many can change the tone of your writing and make it hard to read.

Function #3: Plurals

            The final function of apostrophes is a lot less common than the other two and much more controversial. An apostrophe can be used occasionally to create a plural. This most often happens with numbers, letters, and symbols.

Depending on which style guide you consult, the advice will differ greatly. One rule everyone seems to agree on is how to create the plural form of lowercase letters. When talking about letters, you should use the apostrophe with an s. For example, “You forgot to dot your i’s.” Without the apostrophe, the sentence would not make sense because there would be little indication that it is a letter and not a word.

With abbreviations, capital letters, and numbers, advice becomes more varied. You can add the apostrophe with an s to create the plural. They would look like this: MRI’s, I’s, 1800’s. You can also go without the apostrophe, which seems to be the more popular way. In that case, those same words would look like this: MRIs, Is, 1800s.

Which form you choose will depend heavily on meaning and clarity, as you can see from the example. If you aren’t careful, a reader might misinterpret your plurals as indicating possession, or as a different word than you intended. If you must use a style guide, reference which version the guide prefers. Otherwise, I suggest choosing one form and staying with it.

Conclusion

            If you can remember these three functions and how to apply them, you will have no problems with apostrophes. The application of apostrophes relies on the sentence’s meaning and structure. If you follow the simple rules and remember the importance of clarity, you will know where an apostrophe is necessary without hesitation. As with all parts of writing, don’t be afraid to look it up. It is always better to check rather than depend on memory.

The Value of Distance in Editing

            You come across times when you need to self-edit your writing every day. It’s inevitable. Self-editing might not sound like anything to worry about, but it has hidden difficulties. The greatest obstacle is how easily you can miss a mistake because your brain knows your writing too well. There is a solution that can help you edit your work successfully. The answer is distance.

Why Distance Is Necessary

            You might be having a hard time imagining how distance can be valuable to you with your writing. As the author of your words, you know them better than anyone else. That knowledge is a natural outcome, but it can be detrimental to your editing. As an editor, you know your work too well, which can cause you to miss mistakes that another person might see. Distance from your writing makes it fresh to your mind again.

How to Create Distance

            There are a few ways you can create distance between you and your work. The first way is to put actual distance between you and the draft. Walk away from your writing for a time and focus on something else. The more time you can take away from your work, the better. I try to let a day go by without looking at my writing before I begin editing. When I do go back, I’m usually horrified by the number of mistakes in my draft. The distance helps me see what I couldn’t before. You don’t have to take a whole day away from your writing for the distance to benefit your editing. Any amount of time is helpful, but I would recommend at least taking thirty minutes away from your writing before you begin to edit it.

            Another way to create distance is by altering the original so that the writing appears new to your brain. Disguising your draft is possible by changing fonts, font size, color, and spacing. I use eleven-point Lucida Sans Unicode in black single-spaced when I write. When I edit, I change the type to fourteen-point Courier New in light blue double-spaced. The changes are enough to make the article look completely different. Printing your work out and editing it manually with proofreader marks is also an option. I have not tried editing physical copy, though, because I write too much to make that a cost-effective option.

Conclusion

            When self-editing your work, distance is your friend. Put time and space between you and your writing so that you can approach the editing process with a fresh perspective. You can also create distance by changing the appearance of the draft so that it looks like a new work. Self-editing might be a tricky process, but it doesn’t have to be impossible if you take preventative steps.