I love it when I discover something new in the software tools I’m already using. Don’t you? The day suddenly gets a little brighter. It’s like getting a surprise birthday present when it isn’t my birthday!
If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you know I’m editing my first fantasy novel – working title FFB. Cryptic, but it works better than the Title TBD I was using previously. Anyway, I’m editing.
For my first read-through, I printed the story out double spaced and in a different font from the one I used to type it in. I’d seen that recommended by several of the AuthorTubers, and it appealed to me. I loved being able to actually see a physical representation of all the work I’d done. Somehow, it made it seem more real. That seems silly, but it’s true.
As I read through the manuscript, I wrote notes in the margins and on the back when necessary as I identified (the many) items requiring change. I also used a set of varicolored highlighters to mark text where I found typos, grammar problems, missing words, and consistency issues. Color coded, of course. Oh, did I mention the post-it notes? Yeah, I used some of those, too. Then I sat at my computer with my FFB printout next to me and entered the edits I’d identified.
I’ve always been aware my word processing program allows for the insertion of comments which display in the margin. Still, though I’ve done plenty of writing in my professional life, I’ve always gone solo in my document creation. Nobody else was inserting comments on my work files, and I wasn’t voicing opinions about my colleagues’ efforts either. When my bosses wanted to make changes, they were always too happy to slash and scribble all across my beautiful work in whatever color ink was handy. LOL In other words, I don’t have history with the comments feature.
Recently, however, I sent a piece of my non-fiction work to an editor for review. Unlike my former bosses, she was more than familiar with the comments feature! Not only did she use the review function to show her suggested changes, she liberally inserted comments regarding both the changes and what she liked. It definitely caught my attention.
So … as I began this second pass through my work in progress, I decided to give comments a try. Guess what? I LOVE the comments feature.
It allows me to insert notes as I go, AND I can actually print out a list of the comments – just the comments – which includes each comment’s page and line number. Oh, yes! Page and line number. That way I’ll be able to jump around and make the edits in any order I like without worrying about flipping through hundreds of pages until I come to the orange post-it above purple highlighted text (just a hypothetical example, of course). Sweet!
If at some point I decide I’m tired of staring at the computer and want to do another read-through in hard copy, I can print the story out without comments. Flexibility, too!
No doubt most of you are already using this feature and way ahead of me in workflow efficiency. Still, I was so excited to have this minor epiphany, I just had to share.