Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reading Your Book – Again and Again (and Again)

I turned in my revised manuscript over the weekend. Hopefully, it will be in galley format when it boomerangs back to me again.

After the initial thrill and huge sense of accomplishment at seeing galleys of my books, the dread factor sets in.

As writers, we know our books inside out at that point. Shout out a page number, and we can tell you exactly what’s on it.

How do you give a story you can almost recite by heart a good final read?

I’ve tried just sitting down and simply reading it, but my memory overrides my eyes and I don’t pick up on errors like I should. Also, (boring childhood background alert!) I started kindergarten reading on a high school level. I was dumb as hell in math so I didn’t skip grades. However, I was placed in all kinds of special reading classes – including speed-reading. So I learned at a young age to read from the center of a sentence outwards instead of from left to right. It’s ingrained now, and I have to force my eyes to read from left to right.

Anyhoo, I give my galleys two error-catching reads.

The first time, I use an index card to block out everything except the line I’m reading. I slowly move through the manuscript with the index card taking it line by line. It keeps me focused on the one line and prevents my eyes from wandering ahead.

The second read is aloud, still using the index card line by line.

I’m always interested in how other writers do things. How do y’all read your galleys?


Marissa Monteilh said...

So true!! Those sneaky little errors are tough to see when we own the sentences. I, too, read it aloud after printing it out before I turn it in. But yes, even at the galley stage it's like, what is that? I'll try the ruler suggestion. It is very frustrating. Great post!

Jewel Amethyst said...

I don't have much experience reading galleys, but in proof reading manuscripts I tend to do chapters randomly. A trusted second reader can be a good tool too. They can pick up what you miss.

Don said...

I love the fact that I can always come over here and get tips and pointers concerning writing. I have to believe that reading it aloud, following by a second reading in front of a trusted friend or relative, does the trick.

Thanks for sharing.