How to “Baby” A Manuscript: A Strategy for Frose

As promised, I want to share whatever knowledge I get from my self-training. (The company training is a bit of a premium and not meant to be shared, last I checked my signed contract.)

There’s an epic fail today in a supposed meeting with a friend. However, I thought we were not going to meet up because I did not get any text messages from her that we will still be meeting up after work. Agh. I’m so sorry Chanz. I hope I can make it up to Yesh next week.

Trying not to dwell on that epic fail, let me just divert my thoughts (and yours!) by sharing you my “rough working outline” for editing a manuscript… I choose to call it “babying” because it sounds more endearing than taxing. And yes, I do commit to give a name for the ones I am working on. For one, my first baby in my job is named “Frose”.

Frose. A piece of engineering prose. Haha. Actually, I get the name from a fancy concept that strikes me in one of the manuscript pages.

How to edit a manuscript for beginners sounds really generic, but this is basically what this post has today.

This is what I’ll be doing for Frose and her soon to be siblings once I am done with her:

Know the parts of the book. That will include the front cover, back cover, spine and what-nots. Will not dwell on this, I trust that Google can show this to you anytime. But that’s the basic thing to inspect first in a manuscript.

Skim. This is the second step, for me. It involves skimming the headings, chapter/unit openers and the “skeleton” of the book. This will give away the writer’s outline, intentions for writing the book and all that jazz. Skimming is good so that you have a bit of mental compass that will tell you if you are already in the middle when you proceed to read it intensively later on.

Read it once. For first reading, the focus is on punctuation and basic grammar. Dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s. A manual or standard for correcting the grammar is a good source of aid for these things. It depends on the standard being adapted by your manuscript or work area. You can try Chicago, APA, MLA or Turabian.

Read it a second time. The second reading is for flow, clarity of thoughts and all those intuitive stuff that make a book feel good to read. It is finding the art in the prose, no matter how technical the book is.

Read it a third time. This is for mastery purposes on your end. The third reading will allow you to be a bit of an expert on your baby manuscript. Maybe not genius enough to replace the writer’s technical knowhow, but enough for talking with a bunch of people who are into that field.

Proofread (1). Insertion of copywriting symbols the first time around for the layout artist.

Read it backwards for spelling. This is quite boring, but if you want the Baby to remove any spelling spots, this is the best way to go. You will no longer be bogged down by the structure of the sentences and the flow of thoughts when you read it backwards; you will be forced to focus on the spelling only.

Proofread (2). Insertion of copywriting symbols the second time around for the layout artist.

Proofread (3). Insertion of copywriting symbols the third time around for the layout artist.

Pagination and Overall Appearance. Once you have done all your homework for your baby (dressing it up, putting on diapers, cleaning the crib), you can soon let it sleep and dance with the printing machines. But before that, check the pages and the overall appearance. Make sure it looks like a book.

Parts of the book (Again!). Yes, it has to be done before you send it over to the machines. Because most likely, the text will move into different locations after you have done three proofreading efforts to it.

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So much for my strategy! I hope it works in helping me do as much for Frose as I possibly can!

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My friends have been asking what my typical work groove has been since I started.

I work 8 hours as an editor for technical books during weekdays. I spend almost 2 hours blogging to revive the writer in me come night time.

I only use the remaining part of the lunchbreak to continue reading Jane Austen’s Emma (that’s book number 3 out of the 101 I pledged to read ASAP.) I take a break from editing intensively by reading literature. How weird. But it has relaxed me well.

I though it would be easy to edit when you are a wide reader. Sure, it helped a lot. But as a reader, you will not care if that certain page had the copyright and the pages correct. You will just sit back and relax and get to the content of the book.

I only learned to love books more with my job. Because I saw the painstaking care with which it is edited before it gets printed and hits the book stands. I do not just admire the author now; I also admire the editors who made it the gem that it is shining in the bookshelves.

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Too much talk, too little sleep. I better get some rest. I hope that I will be able to implement that “Baby” strategy for Frose.

Looking forward to meeting the author of Frose. I have always wanted to be an author. While I can’t come up with a manuscript just yet, this is the next best thing. 🙂