Refractive Thoughts on Final Reads

Today, I realized I took an entirely new approach to my most recent read-through of a pending project. With a heavily marked-up Ravaged Earth¬†word document and no satisfactory solution for reviewing track changes on the iPad2, I opted to give it a fresh look and saved the file with the final view sans markup as a PDF. In turn, I opened it up in GoodReader and annotated it–I didn’t expect to make many observations and it worked well. What I took away from this experience is I read the whole document thoroughly and carefully, yet I still had the safety net of the “other document” if I needed it. Some of you may not find this a bold move and may, in fact, think I was absolutely insane to do this in such a manner. It wasn’t so bad because I hedged my bets just a bit, and wouldn’t use it in all circumstances. Following, I list my ideal conditions for such an approach:

1. Make certain the document is pretty far along in the process. This shouldn’t be used for the first kick back.

2. To underscore point 1, I suggest restricting it to the final pass or what you hope is the final pass. [1. As any techie or writer knows, any time you label something as final, you have thumbed your nose at the gods and it is all too likely some annoying error will invariably crop up, requiring you to label files with such oxymorons as FINALv2.0.]

3. Be prepared to read each and every word carefully. You can get a bit lazy when you’ve got good, trusted staff, and only look at the marked up stuff when it crosses your desk. Here, you can’t.

4. From the contrarian position to point 3, make sure you do scan through all the corrections and comments before saving the file to a FINAL view.

5. Allow yourself plenty of time. While going through a marked-up document can compress the process for the final reviewer radically, accepting all changes and starting fresh is going to take a good bit of time. Not as much as an initial read-through, but a goodly bit more than the traditional approach.

6. Read it like a reader. This is a tough one. While you have your critical soul, allow yourself to enjoy the work. Let it sweep you away. See if it delights and entertains. Make notes if necessary, but remember fun is the main thing.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!

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