After a nice diversion (illustrating a children’s book), I jumped back into my review of the Seefer Elliot. It took me a few days to read it (what with all the red ink I was tattooing onto the page). I was glad to pick it up after such a long break. I was able to distance myself from the project a little. I came across sentences where I said to myself, “What the hell does that mean?” I’m sure I thought it sounded incredible when I wrote it, but it didn’t hold up well to my reader voice.
I picked up a tip somewhere that said to read out loud in a British accent when editing. I don’t know if the comment was a goof or a serious advice. Either way, I heeded it and read most of the book as if I were James Bond. I can't believe how well it worked! Wherever my horrible impression stumbled over a word, I knew that the sentence needed restructuring. Whether it was the accent or not, reading aloud is a definite advantage because it limits your ability to gloss over the words. You are responsible for every word on the page.
As I read over the manuscript, I noticed inconsistencies. In some places a character's thoughts were in italics. In others, they were in quotes. In some places, I abbreviated 7th, while in others I spelled it out as seventh. I had 93 uses for a semi-colon. Which was correct? I didn't know. I was referred to The Chicago Manual of Style for help. While verbose, this manual has just about everything you need to know about grammar, style and punctuation. It may not have been the best style-guide to use, but it a)kept me consistent, and b) was free (with a trial membership).
FYI, this blog post has a lot of good information on formatting your manuscript in preparation for a professional editor or publisher. It came in handy when setting up my Word doc's line spacing, margins, font sizes, etc.
Now I have to take the redlines and actually make the changes. Fun fun.