Editing is hard work, but not the mind-numbing drudgery one might expect. Seems to me the biggest issue is that the eyes see what the mind expects. In editing, that’s a killer problem. No matter how many times through the text, one will see articles, words and punctuation that are not present. One sees them because they are expected. Other errors get by also, but here is a solution I’d like to share. Give your eyes a break and let your ears tell the story.
Download an application like Natural Reader ($50) and load a couple of voices you like. Adjust the cadence and pitch to a comfortable pace, place a pair of good earphones over your brow and let your computer read your story back to you, paragraph by paragraph, one chapter at a time. Every punctuation error, every missed word, or incorrect spelling will leap forward like a rock through a window. Make a change, listen to it again. And again. Alter word choice to eliminate repetition or improve flow. Turn the text into music that lets the image propagate smoothly through your mind. When it sounds perfect, it is.
This should be your final edit, after all the word-crafting is complete. When your first human reader takes a pass through the manuscript, with every change or edit based on their suggestion, employ the software reader again for that section. Don’t want to create more mistakes.