My Method for a Full Manuscript Review/Edit

Here’s what’s been working for me. Feel free to ignore or borrow anything you like. It’s actually been pretty fun.

Fuel:

  • 5 hour energy shots
  • Buckets of strawberry refresher from Starbucks
  • Water
  • Fizzy juice
  • Music, usually a random pop station. I don’t usually have music on when I’m writing but for this I don’t find it too distracting.

Supplies: 

  • Pink, yellow, green, and blue highlighters
  • Black, blue, and red ballpoint pens
  • A nice lined notepad
  • Smart phone – You could just as easily use a printed-out copy of your manuscript for this.
  • Scrivener
  • For this phase, other than setting it up, I’ve avoided my laptop entirely. It’s too easy to get sucked into revisions (or Facebook).

Process:

  • I use Scrivener for actual drafting, so I was able to compile my manuscript as an ebook and then it was pretty simple to just pop the whole thing into Google Books. I even added a pretty cover so it looks like the other books in my library. Self delusion is an important part of my process, apparently. I did everything I could to distance myself from it.
  • Working from the ebook copy of my full manuscript, I make all my notes on the pad. Pretty simple.
  • Anything that requires a major change, or is a completely new idea, gets highlighted.
  • I make sure to always label each page with date and chapter, but I don’t worry too much about labeling the specific notes. I want to be able to get it all back in order if I drop the stack, but most of the notes contain enough context that I’ll know exactly what sentence or paragraph to focus on as I go through the manuscript on my computer, which is my final step.
  • Doodles are obviously a vital part of the creative process.
  • I finished taking notes on the whole story, and reviewed my outline to make sure I hadn’t wandered badly off track and see if I needed to correct anything. (I did.)
  • And finally, I’m just going through the manuscript fixing things and checking the items off. If I can’t make the change right away because it requires more brain-power than I have at the moment, I make a red note in the margin to make sure I won’t forget to come back to it.
  • Example of my super fancy note-taking technique pictured below:

20170308_190648

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