Introduction to Revising, Editing and Proofreading Phase
At this phase, you need to check your work carefully – to hand in a manuscript full of typos or with spelling mistakes gives an unfavourable impression to your mentor, editor, reviewer, and publisher, or even peer reviewer. No manuscript should be sent out or published without going over it at least once! Twice is even better.
At this stage, new points are added and some points are replaced and removed as per the requirements to make the outlook of the writing catchy and cogent. It’s aimed at polishing your work to fit your statement, check for the flow of your writing, the formation of your sentences, the grammar, spellings, the topic sentences; basically everything.
Caution: The writing process may look long and tiring but is guaranteed for your success. The more you follow the process, the more you will be able to write a quality book. This phase keeps you interested in writing and also helps you in covering each and every aspect related to your topic.
Though revising is one of the longer stages of writing, you may find yourself learning quite a bit. Noticing errors and the patterns of errors you make, and learning how to fix them will help you become a better writer.
Find the tone of the writing and check each line thoroughly. Check spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, manuscript format and other things. Check the entire manuscript for mistakes.
MODIFY THEME AND LINES
You can modify sentences, paragraphs and even the flow of your book. At this point, it is ok to go back to your outline and rework it to fit in with the content already in place. Chapters can be moved around, making sure you actually wrote what you intended in the pre-writing phase. You may be surprised to hear that revising should take as much time as drafting!
On text-paragraph, ask yourself:
• Did I actually write on the required topic and used relevant arguments and examples, or digressed inadvertently?
• Is each piece of information relevant to the paragraph it is in? Should I delete certain parts or move them somewhere else in the text? In other words, is your text cohesive and unified around one theme?
• Does each paragraph and sentence logically follow and relate to what’s written before it? Is there enough or too much support to each topic sentence? Then make changes accordingly.
On sentence-word, ask yourself:
• Did I use suitable connectors to present the logical relations between text segments (cause-effect, general-detail, compare-contrast, chronological order etc.) in order to make the text coherent?
• Did I technically tie ideas together with relevant word choices, apt pronoun reference, and techniques such as parallelism and emphasis?
• Did I diversify sentence types and lengths (from simple to complex, short and concise to long and elaborate)? Consider uniting two consecutive short sentences or dividing a long compound-complex sentence into two shorter ones.
• Did I refrain from no-no’s such as wordiness or inappropriate register?
• Did I refrain from repeating the same ideas and words and used a rich and varied vocabulary? Did I use adjectives and adverbs for text enrichment? Did I mainly use my own words?
• Do not attempt showing-off with a fancy word you do not know how to use properly.
Revising the Manuscript
Focus and structure
In order to gain precision and focus, manuscripts often need to be somewhat restructured. Check that there are topic sentences in all paragraphs, that each section has an overall structure and, of course, that the manuscript in fact does what it sets out to do.
Structuring the manuscript
Manuscript structure has to do with perspective – you need to structure your thoughts and your writing in order for the manuscript to make sense to the reader. This means that a well-structured manuscript communicates the writer’s intentions and results to the reader. In such a manuscript, the structure acts like a framework, in that it enables the material to be presented in a coherent and logical manner. A manuscript without structure, on the other hand, is difficult to read as it leaves the reader unprepared for what will come next, and the ideas that the writer wishes to convey to their readers therefore risk being lost or misunderstood.
Sentence structure and punctuation
Two common problems related to sentence structure are fragments (that is, sentences that are not complete) and run-on sentences (which are sentences that follow after each other without being separated by a full stop or a coordinating conjunction). Writers who make these mistakes often find punctuation rules difficult too.
Fluency and readability
Manuscripts that lack transitional devices are difficult to read. Go through your manuscript and make sure there are transitions when needed between paragraphs and between sections.
Revising the Language
Although it might be difficult to make substantial vocabulary changes at the revising stage, the repetitive use of certain words and expressions can be corrected. At this stage, most writers consult reference books of various sorts. A good dictionary is a must (both printed and electronic), but other tools are also useful.
To avoid typos and spelling mistakes, it is wise to use the spell-check function in MS Word (or other software used). Make sure to check that it is set for English and choose the preferred spelling (British or American).
It is important to make sure that the language used in your manuscript is grammatically correct. Although most standard Word Processors include a grammar checker, you cannot trust it to catch all potential mistakes.