Read Like a Reader, Write Like a Writer

by Tim Kane

I recently needed to read through my entire manuscript one last time, yet I needed to see the text as a reader, not a writing. It seems weird to say, but there is a difference. When I read someone else’s book, I don’t edit as I go. Even my own stories, once published, my mind tends to leave alone. However, when I view my writing in the word processor, I just can’t resist the urge to keep tweaking.

The trick is perspective. For one edit-read I printed out the whole thing, sat on the couch, and poured over it. Trouble is, I don’t have time for that approach. My solution, PDF. I emailed to my iPad, but you could do the same with a Nook or Kindle. The goal is to place the story in a format that I associate with reading (not writing). And it works.

It’s scary how the mind works. In order to make any changes to typos and such, I read the PDF, but still have the laptop handy. That way I can quickly make the change and get back to reading. Midway through this process I thought, “Man, this is a waste of time. I should just read from the computer.” Nope. The instant I started to read from the word processor, my perspective on the text changed. I could feel that switch in my brain flipping. It even happens when I turn my iPad sideways and make the text feel more like my laptop.

No, to get the reading feeling right, it must look and feel like a printed and published story.

Next time you need to view your work as a reader, consider these tricks.

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About Tim Kane

Tim Kane is a young adult fiction writer.
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6 Responses to Read Like a Reader, Write Like a Writer

  1. I find that I see things differently just in the preview mode for blog posts as opposed to in a word processor. I’ll go over a story a bunch of times and think it’s ready, but when I read over it in preview mode, I usually catch some words that sound out of place, or a place where’s something seems to be missing. It must be my reader mode being engaged.

  2. Excellent advice, Tim. Like you, I prefer to do my writing on my computer. Then, I print it out and read it, making comments in the side margins and/or text. Next, I make those corrections. Then, I read it out loud and make more edits. Personally, I find that hearing the copy read out loud, I catch all kinds of things that are missed when I only proofread and edit. This process repeats itself until I’m satisfied.

  3. That’s a really good idea! I’m revising my current manuscript right now, but when I need to read through it again I’m going to do it on my Kindle (or iPad–haven’t decided which yet). I don’t know why I never thought of that before.

  4. When going through our own MS we should read it like a reader. This process really helps a lot and finally the end reader would get a good book and the author the satisfaction of writing something nice. I read my MS on my laptop out-loud, works for me.

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