I recently completed the first draft of my third novel, FOUR, which will be the second book in the Iwakura Series. While I like to take about a week over each chapter when I am initially writing it (as I have discussed in another post about my writing technique), when it comes to editing, I need to do a whole chapter at a time. But there are still ways to break the jobs down so it doesn’t become too monotonous.
The main reason to do a chapter at a time is to help spot inconsistencies that can crop up within a chapter. And if I can do more than one chapter in a day, so much the better, as this can help pick up inconsistencies across chapters. This happened with this book when a character name inexplicably changed part way through a chapter and that slip was carried over into the next chapter.
Having gone through the whole book looking for these inconsistencies and obvious errors (whether typing or plot-related), I then go through the whole book again (with each chapter as a separate document still), getting Word to read it back to me (you may be able to see the controls – including the settings button to change the voice or its speed to the right of the text, just beneath the ribbon and toolbars). This is the stage I am at now. Although by now the text has been seen at least two or three times, it still amazes me how many more errors I pick up when hearing the text (and reading it at the same time). I’m currently averaging around two errors per chapter (about 2,000 to 2,500 words). Do this type of check takes about 20 minutes per chapter.
The next stage will be to bring all of the chapters into a single document. I then do a further read through and use Grammarly to help check for additional errors that haven’t been picked up on yet (although Grammarly isn’t perfect, it seems to capture the majority of issues).
Then, all being well, the book will be ready for one final read through and then publishing. In the meantime I will also be sorting out the book cover.