Saturday Editing Tip: Catching the “little” things

As part of my Assisted Self-Publishing services, I offer a round of comprehensive editing. This editing covers grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Here’s a quick grammar tip for your Saturday!

I’m in the middle of an edit on my next book. The working title is “A Beginner’s Guide to Tent Camping”. This edit is still for major issues like adding in a whole section and clarifying paragraphs. But as I do this, I’m also looking for the “little” things that can mean the difference between a professional manuscript and looking like an amateur.

See if you can spot the problems:

  • Most public campgrounds in have paths between sites to the bathrooms, trash, etc.
  • When the sun begins to sweat you’ll get a chill.
  • Fist Aid Kit
  • I recommend packing in a duffle big.
  • And never underestimate the importance of a pair of slip of shoes.

None of the sentences (or chapter headings) above have any grammatical error that will be caught by a spelling or grammar checker. It’s up to a real editor who carefully reads each sentence to find them.

So how do you spot things like this in your own writing?

  1. Read the manuscript backwards. I start with the last sentence (reading it from start to finish). And then the second to last sentence; the third to last sentence, etc. By reading the manuscript this way, I’m able to focus on one sentence at a time and my brain isn’t “assuming” it knows what will come next.
  2. I print out the entire manuscript, grab my tea and red pen and go to town. Looking at the project in a different format really causes errors to jump out at me.
  3. Read it aloud. It’s not a quick (or even entertaining) process, but hearing it can help me identify mistakes and sentences that don’t flow.

After your manuscript meets your personal editing standards, be sure to pass it along to a copy editor to go over it again. No matter how good you are at self-editing, a copy editor will find mistakes.

Kim Galloway
Find me!