When my first book, Beneath Outstretched Arms, was being edited by friends and family, the process was sort of haphazard. They read it, we’d chat on the phone about it, and then they’d list a few words that needed correction, etc… but nothing too formal.
This time around with book 2, I decided to send my readers “How to edit in Word” instructions, so that they could actually mail my Word doc. back to me so that I could take the time to look over the corrections and really think about their comments.
As I mentioned yesterday, one of my readers has already done this, and it was so helpful! So I thought I would paste a copy here for anyone else who might need a very simple knowledge of very basic editing (I haven’t learned much beyond this point, myself 🙂 so only sharing what I know.)
How to edit in WORD … easy peasy!
Step 1: open the WORD document (cut and paste these instructions into a Word doc to practice on)
Step 2: Go to the top menu bar and press Review
Step 3: Click on Show Markup (you should see a bunch of checked boxes…that’s good) and then Track Changes (again things should already be checked in there and I don’t think you should have to do anything)
Step 4: Make a quick edit to see how it works. Do this by placing your curser in front of a word that I already have written on this document and then delete that word by pressing the Delete button. You should see a colored line scroll through the middle of it. Then write the exact same word next to it. This should also appear in a color (can’t remember if it’s the same color or different…doesn’t matter).
Step 5: If you make a mistake with a change you want to make, you can press Ctrl Z and it will go back to the way it was (hold down Ctrl and press Z multiple times until things go back the way you want them.) Try that on the change you just made. You don’t have to move the cursor anywhere. If you press Ctrl Z it will automatically get rid of your last changes wherever your last changes were.
-Use Step 4 edits on any typos, misspellings, or homophone mistakes that you catch (their vs there, your vs you’re, etc…)
-If you have something to say about the sentence, paragraph or chapter as a whole of what you’re editing that you would like the author to know about… if you are confused about a plot line, if you can’t tell what is happening in the scene, or if you get confused about tenses, etc… (something that may be, but more often is a non-grammatical issue and more of a content issue) then refer to step 6 below.
Step 6: Place your cursor next to the word, sentence or general area that your comment concerns, and then go to the top menu bar and click Review. Then click New Comment (looks like a talking bubble). This will form a talking bubble to the right of the document. Click inside it and write your comment. Try it now in the doc you created for practice. Easy peasy!
*Remember to save the document you’re working on before closing it out so that the changes you made remain.
*When you are finished reading over the document, and making the necessary corrections, you can then attach it to an email and send it back to the author you were beta reading for, including any additional comments you might have by writing them within the body of the email.
*As an added nicety, you might even send the author a review that they could post on their website or fb page. Every little bit of advertisement helps 🙂
Hope this helps someone who has a work in progress or who is helping someone who does.