Forums Club Ed Editors’ Forum How do you like to read manuscripts?

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    • #68608
      Jake Nicholls
      Participant

      Hello everyone!

      I was wondering how you all go about doing an initial read-through of a manuscript before you start editing, in practical terms – e.g. do you read it on the computer, use an e-reader, print it out and read it on paper?

      I struggle to focus when reading long documents on a computer screen and much prefer to print something out and read it on paper if I can. This is a little unwieldy when it comes to reading whole manuscripts, however! Plus, it doesn’t allow for correcting any spelling errors or highlighting things without having to go back and do it again later at the computer.

      If you do read on-screen, do you have any tips re: making it easier on the eyes and helping to maintain concentration?

      I’m interested to find out about all the different methods people have!

      Jake

    • #68693
      Jennifer Lawler
      Keymaster

      Often I am fine just reading from the computer screen and correcting obvious typos and other egregious errors as I go along, but I occasionally have a tendency to try to do too much editing on the first read-through. I’ll get bogged down in trying to solve problems when I don’t have the full story arc in mind. Which is so counter-productive! So, when that happens, I upload the doc to my Kindle, which keeps me focused because I can’t start tinkering with the text. I do keep notes in a notebook (“Chapter 3: Whaaa? Who are all these people?”) as I go but that distracts me less because I’m not actually in the ms trying to form queries and such.

      • #70602
        Jake Nicholls
        Participant

        Ah, that’s another angle I hadn’t thought of! I do find it useful to have separate, handwritten notes to remind me of the big-picture concerns while I’m typing queries in the ms.

    • #72624
      Adrienne Pond
      Participant

      Hi Jake. There are screens for computer monitors that help cut down on blue light/glare. I use Theraspecs glasses which cut down on blue light/glare. I also always keep my monitor on night which produces a warmer light, easier on the eyes.

      • #73970
        Jake Nicholls
        Participant

        Thanks, Adrienne – I’ll look into those screens, they sound like a good idea!

    • #72949
      Sarah Lobrot
      Participant

      Hi Jake, I used to have similar problems, but with practice it has become easier to read on a computer’s screen. For me the brightness wasn’t so much the issue (though it can be in the evening, and that’s when I switch the ‘night mode’ on, like Adrienne), but it just felt unnatural and I had problems concentrating. As I got used to reading more and more on the screen, it started to feel easier. Also, I really like that I can scroll up and down, it gives me a good overview of the manuscript and I can skim some passages too (and go back to them later). I still haven’t tried transferring a manuscript to a kindle or e-reader device but I think that would be a good idea for the first read-through.

      • #73971
        Jake Nicholls
        Participant

        Hi Sarah! Yes, I think you’re right that part of my problem is just not having too much experience with reading long documents on-screen. Hopefully I’ll get more used to it over time.

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