As a last-ditch effort to stall sending out my manuscript, I decided to do a read-aloud edit. Actually, this is something I normally do anyway, and I’m not sure why I didn’t do it immediately after the last changes.
The great thing about a read-aloud edit is that you spot all your typos immediately, and can fix them as you go along. The second, and more important thing about doing this, is that you hear when your sentences don’t make sense, are too long, too convoluted, or when you didn’t give enough explanation.
The story that you know is in your head. But when you hear it, it becomes a diferent animal entirely.
Especially if you’re writing for children, this is an essential step. The book will very likely be read aloud by someone to a small child, so you need to make sure it reads smoothly. Otherwise, that’s not going to be a good experience for the listener, or the reader for that matter.
I recommend reading it aloud directly from your computer. That way, you can make the smaller typo changes immediately and simply move on. If you come to bigger sentence/paragraph changes, you can stop your reading to change those as well, but when you resume reading, go back a couple of paragraphs before the changes and start reading there. Then you’ll see if your new changes really work well.
By the time you get to the end of the manuscript, you’ll feel secure that you’ve gotten all the typos and cleaned up all the prose. Then you can send it out without worry.
So I guess I’m not stalling after all. Ha!