It’s the end of the week and I’m still editing chapter two of The Healing Heart. I should have been finished by now, but life has caused me to spend less than three hours a day editing and has slowed me down. Oh well, when you have a family of 7 (plus 2 dogs) and responsibilities that are more pressing than writing, it can’t be helped.
The week started off with typing up chapter two from my handwritten manuscript. (Yes, to all who haven’t read my last few blogs, I decided to go ‘old school’ and hand write my MS without using my laptop. I had my reasons and I’m glad I did). I followed my editing process outline and moved quickly. Then came the emergency trip to the dentist. And my daughter’s volunteer work at the library. Coincidentally, the library is where I had the chance to sit in one spot for a great about of time and actually get some work in. Then came the trips in and out off the house for various reasons which brings us to today……On my plate, a trip to have blood drawn and the dreaded eye doctor for two of my kids, an appointment I’m seriously dreading. Every time we go, we end up waiting an hour just to be seen. Sigh. It’s gonna be a long day.
So what does this have to do with a Digital Audio Recording Device?
An article I read on self-editing suggested, as we all have learned, reading your MS out loud is a good way to hear what you’ve written and helps find mistakes that need to be corrected. I’ve tried that before, but it never fails I rarely get through the whole thing without having to stop for some reason. The article also suggested recording yourself reading out loud. Here lately, I seem to be recording everything I can. I recorded my Writer’s Workshop class I took back in February with author Valarie Clark. And I recorded the GRW meeting with guest speaker Suzanne Brockmann in April. Why not record myself?
I admit, the thought made me nervous. After all, have you ever listened to yourself after leaving a voice mail and thought, ‘Uh, I sound awful?’. God knows I have. But I sucked it up, realized nobody was going to hear it but me and hit the record button…and laughed when I pressed play. I can read aloud just fine, no problems there. But listening to myself say a curse word??? ROTFL! Some people should not curse and I swear I’m one of them! Thank good my MS has very little profanity. Reading the parts that showed the h/h impressions of sexual attraction to one another was even worse. *shakes head* I can only imagine what it will sound like when I get to the chapter with the love scene. *grimaces* My hats off to the voice actors who make a living bringing characters to life in audio books! They deserve every penny!
All jokes and embarrassment aside, I found the technique has actually worked. Even though I haven’t been able to sit down at my laptop and make the actual changes as I listen to my MS, I have been able to make mental note of what needs to be changed. How? By taking my MP3 player (what I used to record) with me everywhere I’ve gone, and listened. I made mental notes of where I stumbled over a phrase because the wording didn’t flow. I was able to notice repeated words a lot faster than if I had been staring at the screen all day. I noticed areas that could use a little more description or a little more emotion because something sounded like it had been left out.
Being forced to LISTEN to what I’ve written instead of READING it for the hundredth time made a huge difference!
Everyone who’s edited knows it can be hard to have spent all that time with the characters in your head, translate your thoughts into words on screen, and then read it back WITHOUT your mind automatically filling in the blank because you know exactly what you intended to say. No matter how many times we read and re-read our work, it’s not until a critique partner reads it and leaves comments that say, “uh, what does this mean?” that you realize all this time it sounded right to you. If you critique partner had to ask, what about future readers????
What a difference a pair of fresh eyes can make! And I don’t mean putting in a fresh pair of contacts, because I did that this week too!
Using your EARS forces you to LISTEN to what’s coming next and not SEE it. You’ll be surprised to note where your brain thinks the scene is going to go vs. where it actually does. It made a huge difference in my editing this week.
So, as I prepare to wake up the kids so they can get ready for their appointments, I plan to make another recording so I can take it with me. During my dreaded hours at the eye doctor I will be listening and making notes so when I get home, I will be able to jump right into editing and get this darn chapter finished! (Oh great, I sound even worse saying darn!)
Editing by way of a digital audio recorder may not be your style, but give it a try at least once. You may be pleased with the results.