- A printed copy of the Manuscript (I prefer to get them spiral bound)
- A ruler
- A notebook
- Small Post-Its
- Large, lines Post-Its
- A good pen (several if you want to mark various errors in different colors)
- Alcohol (optional. As Hemingway said, "Write drunk, edit sober")
I read through the MS in order.
- Small edits are made inline. Many of these are simply "re-word this", spelling errors, grammar, formatting and more of that ilk.
- Any major edits (add a scene, develop this idea further, add an entire storyline...) are noted with a page number in the notebook)
- The large post its are used for running global lists. Right now I have one for words to eliminate, things to research (perhaps a unique need of the historical writer--at least with regard to the length of that list), and inconsistencies (eye color, vanishing pregnancies, and more).
- The small post its are used as bookmarks for where I've stated and stopped and for questions I have of myself. Not many of these used.
- The ruler helps to slow me down as I read. As this is my first time with the complete MS as a reader, it's easy to go too fast.
This phase is actually pretty quick. Three sessions or so of about 3-4 hours. Ideally I'd do it in one sitting, but my life doesn't allow for such a long stretch of *anything* at this point.
Once the read through is done I will:
- Compile all the lists and major notes (checking the original Scrivener file for any notes I overlooked) into my trusty OneNote file.
- Make all the small, in-line corrections
- Write all the new scenes
- Fix all the inconsistencies (Find and Replace is your friend)
That phase may take several weeks. And then? Beta readers. At that point my eyes are too close to the story and it's time to have others take a look. I ask one beta to read at a time, I make corrections, then send it on to the next. I generally use three beta readers--more if needed. After I get a good feel from the betas and make all the corrections, I take one more read to add the last coat of verbal varnish, then send it off to the powers that be.
Then it gets really, really scary.
But you know what? It's worth it.