My Writing Process – Part Two

Editing – Textilus 

Now we’re at the stage of a finished rough draft. Time for editing.

When it comes to editing, it’s usually advised that you put the manuscript in a different format than your primary word processor. You need to look at it differently in order to see it differently. For this, I use an iPad and Textilus. I’m getting more platform specific now, but again, this is me. I’ll be sure to provide some broader recommendations later.

I export a PDF of my first draft from Scrivener, load it into Textilus using Dropbox, and start marking it up with a stylus and typed annotations. At this point, I’m looking for spelling and grammar issues, places where the wording could be more clear, naturalness of dialogue. I cross stuff out, draw arrows, and type in small ideas but, because I’m looking at a PDF, I don’t make any actual changes to the manuscript yet. That comes at the next step.

Revising – Air Display

Once I’ve got my marked up PDF, I upload it back to Dropbox and import it into Scrivener. Now I need to implement all the changes I’ve noted on my iPad. I do this by looking at the annotated PDF and my manuscript in Scrivener at the same time. My primary computer is a 13″ MacBook Pro so there’s not a ton of screen space to display both edited draft and manuscript together. I get around this with Air Display.

Air Display is an application that allows you to use an iPad as an external monitor. The connection is over Wi-Fi rather than a cable so it’s not quite as smooth as a traditionally external monitor, but it gets the job done. This job, anyway.

I just move the PDF over to the iPad screen where I can see it and easily scroll through pages and make the changes I’ve noted on the manuscript. This process also gives me another read through where I occasionally catch another mistake or two.

Feedback – Scribophile

Getting feedback on your writing is extremely important. You can also get so far before you need another set of eyes. Having non-writer friends read your work is good, but don’t underestimate the value of having an experienced writer (or three) comment on your story. Maybe you have an experienced writer friend (or three) you can count on, but many of us don’t.

That’s where Scribophile comes in. It’s an online writer’s group where you can get feedback on your work from other writers. There’s no cost to join (though there is a Premium Membership available), but you do have to critique what other members write if you want to post your own work. It’s a good system and I highly recommend using it whether you have real-life writer friends or not.

After I’ve gotten some feedback on Scribophile, I cycle back through these editing steps as many times as necessary. Don’t get too carried away, though. No matter how perfect your manuscript is, someone on Scribophile will always find some way to recommend improvement. So decide when you’re satisfied and stop there.

There you have it. That’s an overview of my writing process and the tools I use to get it all done. I’d love to hear from you about what kind of process you work with and any new and exciting software that makes it possible!

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