Writers, both published and unpublished, must carefully revise after finishing their work. This week I've decided to post some helpful hints on polishing your work prior to submitting it to an agent or publisher.
1. Spell Check
Though, don't just rely on your word processor's program. Although spell check is very useful, it can not catch all the mistakes when revising writing. It is very important to proof read along with spell check.
2. Read Aloud, Especially dialogue
When revising, it is extremely helpful to read the writing aloud. You often read slower when you read aloud and are less likely to skim over a mistake. Reading aloud can help you catch mistakes that you have made. You can also listen to the flow of the sentences and if the piece makes sense and in the case of dialogue, you can tell whether or not it sounds stilted or natural.
3. Print the Piece
Its easy to miss mistakes when reading on your computer screen, because its the same format you wrote it in. Your brain will actually interpret what's there for what you meant to say, this is where reading it in a different format can be really useful.
4. Take a Break
Before you start revisions, its a good idea to take a break from the manuscript so that you can tackle it with a pair of fresh ideas. Some people suggest a few weeks, others at least a month. However long you need, you should take it. Also, don't try to edit the whole manuscript in a day. You're going to feel the burn of fatigue and will be more likely to miss things.
5. Revision Partners/ Beta Readers
Beta Readers are wonderful. They help you find all the plot holes,grammar issues, and other issues that you may be missing. I don't suggest choosing your mom or other family member for this role. While they can tell you if they like the piece or not, chances are they won't be able to offer helpful suggestions on what's wrong and how to fix it.
Keep in mind that everyone has their own way of doing things. So as you go further into your writing career, you'll develop your own methods. These are just tips that I hope will help.