Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)
Your masterpiece is finished. Now comes the time to check it before it leaves for the editing process.
Whether it is just me, I don't know. I try and get things as good as I can, before calling in the editing squad. Before this, I would also have used a twin-monitor desktop set up, in order to examine the manuscript against what comes back from alpha readers. But once all that is done, it has to be gone through thoroughly before the next step.
I actually go through my manuscript in a number of different formats. Strangely, I don't go through it on the ultrabook screen. I'll run through it in paper format and then I'll tackle it on two different e-readers; one backlit and one non-backlit. I found out that I picked up on different things this way.
It turned out that there was a reason why I got better results like this. "Neuroscience, in fact, has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a screen." - http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-18/your-paper-brain-and-your-kindle-brain-arent-same-thing
Would you credit it!
The concerning thing about that report is the potential that continued e-reading will result in the lessening of other types of reading ability. At the end of the page they've put in some further reading/references.
As well as typos, I am also looking for, "flow." Reading on paper and e-book are different experiences and reading on different formats helps with this as well. Something that sounds right on paper, might sound wrong on e-book.
In additoin to all this, I have a particular problem in that I'm mildly dyslexic. After I've got the typos and flow sorted out as best I can, my next step on a desktop machine, is to work through my list of issues. (I seem to do formal processing better at my desk, than on the ultrabook.) I go through the manuscript with a search function, and consider every occurrance of the following...
*) Whomever and Whoever. - Whomever is the more precice term, but whoever can be used in its place and often is.
*) You're and your. - One is a contraction of You Are - the other is posessive.
*) "Whose" basically means "of somebody", or even "of something". "Who’s" is a short form of "who is."
*) To lose a race and to loose off a round.
*) Has and Had.
*) In to and into. into is movement based, in to is short for "in order to" - I'm going into the pub... I'm going in to have a drink...
*) Check the number of F-Bombs and S-words in action works. Not a dyslexia thing, but more a responsibility thing.
*) Check for mixing up character names that are close to each other, like Harry and Henry.
Note the reference to certain swear words. I'll firstly ask the system how many of them are in there and, if I draw air through my teeth and think, "Hmmm..." then that's a cue to go through and replace some of them.
Of course, this is a dynamic process. Pretty much every time a manuscript comes back from editing, there'll be some new issue that I must add to this list.
That about covers it. There are a variety of technical options out there, and it pays to find the ones that fit best with your way of working. Technology fails, so ensure you have back ups. A laptop gone to the manufacturer could knock you back a couple of weeks if you don't have something else to use in the mean time.
Do a bit of reserach, get hands on where you can, and don't be affraid to try a novel solution if you think it might better suit you.