There truly is a name for everything on the internet. I was searching around this morning for a phrase to describe the feeling where you’re reading over your umpteenth edit of a manuscript you know off by heart and you’re not even seeing the words anymore.
That feels apt, but to take it further, the same way snow blindness has a scientific name (Photokeratitis) I am coining a new term for writer’s blindness Verbameakeratitis. Verba mea is latin for ‘my words’
In my own case, as I get ready to hit <send> on my second-edits for Thrice Burned, I find myself using these tricks to ‘see’ my own errors and catch them before inflicting them upon my poor editor/publishers <again>.
- Read Aloud – this is something they teach to every first year journalism student (I should know, I was one) and it really does work. You are much more likely to catch an error if you have to read your words aloud.
- Read your writing on a different machine – I find PDFing my document and reading it on the iPad helps me not slip into complacency. I’ve caught lots of typos that way
- Know thy faults. I have a bad habit of adding stage direction (usually eyebrows a-waggling) so I do a search of the document for my own bad habits.
- Read the document in order: just because you’re SURE that first chapter is pristine, do not feel you can skip it. Read the whole story as if you were a first time reader to really SEE the mistakes.
- Check all dates and locations if you write historical fiction – this is a big one. Make sure every instance of a date is double-checked and makes sense.