2018 releases

Hell's Bell
Scent of the Jaguar
His Outback Nanny
The Queen's Game
366 Days of Flash Fiction
On the Horizon: Simple worlds of speculative adventure
Lusting the Enemy

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Magic Thursday: The Magical World of Editing

Recently, I polished up one of my manuscripts for a competition. I knew I had wanted to enter this competition for months, but of course, that is when all the other things to do come into play. I started a course this year in graphic design (part-time), and instead of doing the one to two subjects I had originally thought, I have ended on taking the full four subjects of the part-time load.

This had definitely cut into my time. So among assignments, I had editing to do.

I needed to change the internal monologue of one of the characters. She is tough but didn't come across that way. Also a refocus on the fantasy in the first part of the book, with the romance being more prevalent and a motivating factor in the second half of the book.

The manuscript was 448 pages long, so a lot of pages needed to be done. I printed out the chapters as reading on the screen doesn't always show me my errors or changes I want to make. Still, even this doesn't catch everything, as my eye tends to read the words I want there than what IS actually there. There was no way I could get someone to read it in time. It was too big of an ask, and everyone is frantically busy right now.

What helped me get it done? - the Speech toolbar in Word. That's right. I had my computer read it out to me! What do you know, it picked up lots of bits and pieces, including repeated words, sentence structure, dialogue usage. Hearing it also made me realise that the manuscript was there with the little tweaks.

Finally. This is the book that would not end. The book that I call my 'CFS' book. The one that I have stopped and started more times than I can remember. I had entered it a couple of years back in the Golden Heart and while it was in the top 1/3, it didn't make it. And going through it again, I can see it was not quite there.

Hearing it made me use another sense, at the same time being able to read along on the screen. Yes, the computer voice is not natural, and some words (especially in my fantasy made up world) aren't pronounced properly, but that doesn't matter. You pick up so much.

I used to read out my work, but got a sore throat, so I stopped. And totally forgot about the benefits of hearing the words. Last year, I did Angela James' Before You Hit Send workshop (brilliant workshop, btw), and I was reminded of this great tool.

So will this be part of my regular editing routine? You bet.

Do you listen to your work?



  1. Hi Eleni!
    That was a fabulous post. I hadn't known about this Speech Toolbar feature! I am SO going to use it now. Thank you for sharing & thus helping.
    And congratulations on the 4 subjects!
    All the very best,

    1. Hi Rob, it's great to see you here. Glad to share knowledge when I can. And thanks re the 4 subjects. It's tough but I am enjoying it. :)

  2. Great idea Eleni,

    It's something I've never used before but might give it a try now! =)

  3. Hi Eleni.
    Thanks for sharing this - I had no idea that tool existed! What a handy thing! Will definitely try it now. Good luck with the competition!


    1. Hi Imelda. I didn't realise it existed either. But the workshop last year put me onto it. It was handy for me as right now funds to get one of those fancier text to speech packages isn't there. Good luck with it, and thanks for the competition wishes! :)

  4. Great post!!

    Listening helps me a lot. I have started converting me word documents to pdf, then using Calibre to changing them to Kindle format - putting them on the kindle and using text to voice.

    Will DEFINITELY be using the word version (if mine has it), will save me a lot of time in converting.


    1. Glad to help cut out that conversion time, Jodie. Here's hoping it's there! I do use the Mac version of Word, but usually the features should all be the same. But what a great workaround you have there. Shows you that there is more than one way to do things. Good luck!