Novelist Vladimir Nabokov said, “My pencils outlast their erasers.” I have a similar problem with my delete button. It’s a good thing that key is resilent. Some days, I delete so much I go into a negative word count. In my writing process, I always revise and edit chapters as I move forward. I may write a chapter, revise it several times, send to a critique partner, and edit in response to the comments. I always keep a notebook handy for jotting down items I should check at the end of the manuscript. I use this ‘Mistakes List’ during the polishing stage.
This list changes from one manuscript to the next. That’s a good thing. It means that somewhere along the line I’ve learned from my mistakes and make different ones. It may be that I overuse a word or pet phrase. Maybe I forget to add in setting in a certain chapter. Perhaps I need to check choreography of an action scene.
My mistakes list keeps me from stopping and editing every time something pops into my head. I know the list will be there when I get to the end of the story. There’s something in this blog post that would make my list. I’ve used the phrase “end of the manuscript” and “end of the story” in close proximity. I’d make a note to check for unintentional word echo–one of my bad habits.
When I address everything on my list, the manuscript is ready for beta readers and then my editor. Mistakes in writing (and in life) are inevitable. Being able to recognize them is a good thing. What are some of your common errors? Do you keep a checklist handy for the last reading of your manuscript?
BIO: Brinda lives in the southern US with her family and a spunky cairn terrier. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.