I call this stage The Last Stage but that’s optimistic. It’s the last stage of the process but that doesn’t mean the MS is now perfect. Stage 4 is proofreading.
During this stage I read through the MS from beginning to end, often aloud. Reading aloud lets me become a reader again and helps me avoid reading what I expect to be there, rather than what’s actually there. This includes things like missing commas—or extra commas. I look for all types of errors when I’m reading this stage. Some basic errors I’ve found myself make over and over again:
Sometimes, during the proofreading stage, I’ll notice things in structure or characterisation that don’t feel right for the story. I put a note next to them and go back and check them later. If I allow myself to get distracted from the process, I miss important things.
That’s the four stages of editing I do with my work. Once I’ve done that, the work is ready for critique partners and beta readers. Often my critique partners have seen the story as it’s been developed. I only show them the finished product if I’ve made extensive changes to the structure and/or characterisations. That happened with Warrior Pledge where one plot line was removed completely, and the characters that were the major characters in the first version became secondary characters. That meant point of view changed throughout, scenes were deleted and new scenes were written. It became a completely new (and much better) story.
After this week, the completed edited version of The Gingerbread House will be posted to the Free Stories page on my website. The older versions will be removed from that page, but will still be available in the blog archives.
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.
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