Thursday, September 16, 2010

Proper Grooming

Grooming should not be attempted alone. When it comes to properly grooming our manuscript, we need help. I have several trusted friends reviewing my MS at the moment and it never ceases to amaze me:

1) What I miss. Even having read it numerous times.

2) What they miss. Each one has picked up different things in story, character and the use of my new favorite word "though."

My mom used to edit my papers in high school and college. She's the Queen of Grammar and the Top Speller. My favorite part is when she calls me with something not entirely grammatical. She immediately asks, "Did they get that?" meaning my other readers. If I reply no, she's jumping up and down like she won the lottery. This is not a competition, Mom. We're all editing together for The Greater Good.

I give myself a groom over twice before I start sending out pages. I chunk it as Elana suggested here, which I have found gets you revisions much quicker! And is easier to manage as they come in. Instead of doing 100 page chunks, though (see, there's my fave word!), I do it in chapters. Three at a time seems to work the best. At the moment, I'm getting pages back the following day.

Mom helps me talk pretty. My other readers/friends are each experts in the following (by expert I mean much better than I am at spotting and fixing in my own MS) plot, character and format. Each one reads specifically for that one part. That's not to say that my plot reader doesn't catch a spelling error here or there before Mom does. But they focus on just that one aspect. It makes the revisions less scary as well. Each is grooming a different part of my body so it's not all happening as once. A bit easier to part with things that way, I've found.

How do you groom? Do you do it in groups like monkeys? Or one on one like our kitty friends? Or do you hold things close to the vest and do all the grooming yourself?


  1. I will admit that ever since watching "Groomer Has It" I feel like I should be able to be an animal groomer, too. I've never tried this out, but if I ever do get my standard poodle...
    But about manuscripts, you are really right. I just looked at my last manuscript that had been through betas and sent out to agents (gasp) and thought, "You know, that whole thing about let it sit for a while is a really good idea..."
    Your mom sounds amazing - LOVE that she wants to catch the stuff first!!

  2. It sounds like you have a great team behind you! I am always amazed too by what I miss, even after going through the whole thing with a fine-tooth comb. To coin a Harry Potter character's phrase - 'constant vigilance' is the key!

  3. I use readers and I think their comments are invaluable. Whatever, they say, I listen, even if I don't agree. I would never give them up.

  4. Oh, I miss tons of stuff. My eyes just tend to glaze over things so quickly and even though I can see areas that need improvement in the books I read, I have a really hard time seeing it myself. Too close to the work I guess.

    Love the kitty picture. I just changed my computer screen to rifle through pictures of kitties and I'm finding myself closing all my windows just so I can see what picture is up! *sigh* I want a kitty!!

  5. What a great group to have! I have a small group and trying to expand on it a bit. But I actually love the input from other people, apposed to being offended they found flaw in me. Its fun! Great post. I'm loving this kitty metaphors this week!

  6. I have a few crit groups, but only one I trust with my first revisions. I also have two beta readers who tell me what's boring and what's not. Once I get through that. I'm done. Well, I pretend I'm done. =)

  7. ooo! I love the kitties! I like to groom as much as possible myself. Then I let the hubs do a little grooming (he's a voracious reader) and then I let a friend or two and then I troll my blogging buddies for a crit partner. :D

    good stuff~ <3

  8. It always amuses me how easy it is to miss mistakes, even when sometimes they are so. obvious.

    For my current WIP I have two beta readers and my critique group to help me out! :D

  9. I groom alone till I can't groom anymore. Then, when I've done my absolute best, I send it out to a couple of trusted readers who will catch all the stuff I missed. Then I get it back, and groom some more.

    Grooming is exhausting. Especially with the amount of wordballs in my work ;)

  10. It IS amazing how much we miss even when we're looking for it :)