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:~: Monday, May 08, 2006 :~:


I've been steadily working on edits in my manuscript and am finally finished. Today, while reading one last time, I noticed I was usuing the same word over and over. I tend to do this a lot - clamp on to one word in one specific manuscript and use it to death. This time it was the word "tingle" and any variation of said word - tingled, tingling, tingling sensation - you get the point. Now, when I send a few chapters at a time to my cp's something like this can be overlooked, but when you read from start to finish, the damn things pop out at you like neon lights.

My last manuscript was the same. I was in love with the word "coursed". I know it's happening in the WIP too although it's been so damn long since I worked on the WIP, for the life of me I can't remember what word that is. But I know there is one. (And hey, I think damn is the word I've clamped on to in this blog post.)

I'm not one to print harcopy and read, and maybe that's why I tend to miss a lot of these little "repeats" that I overuse. Paper, ink . . . it's expensive. I can read it just as easily on the computer. This time, however, I broke down and printed, and lucky for me, all these little words just jumped off the page. So did movements and actions characters are repeating that are useless in the plot.

Editing is something I don't enjoy doing. I write a pretty clean first draft, so editing is boring to me. It's also a waste of paper, but I know it's an important step in the process. So share with me how you edit - do you print everything out and mark up your pages? Do you edit on the screen and do a final print like me to give it one last read? Or do you not print at all and simply go with what you see in front of you?


Blogger Paty Jager said...

When I get down to the final read I print it out, use highlighters to first in one color highlight all the first words in a sentence, then in another color highlight all the verbs, Yet another color highlight dialogue one color for hero, one color for heroine, and a different color for everyone else. then I use a colored pen and box the first word of a chracters start of POV and then the next. I also circle adjectives to make sure I haven't used the same one over and over again.

and then I read the manuscript from the back to the front to make sure each sentence can stand alone and make sense.

Tedious, time consuming, but in my case necessary to make sure I send the best of my work out the door.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oh, geez. My eyes are crossing just reading that, Paty! LOL

10:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa Pulliam said...

Ho-ly crap. I'm impressed Paty! I might try that when I finish my MS.

What I had planned on doing was print it out. I was going to do a find on a bunch of words like "that" or ones ending in "ly" then replace it wish a highlighted version of the same word.

Then I was going to put my manuscript into Y-writer (a free writing program) - it gives a list of all the words used in an MS and how many times they were used. Then look for ones like you mentioned in your post.

Since I'm writing first person, there's not much in POV, but I may steal Paty's idea and highlight dialogue. One thing I catch myself doing is not identifying the speakers often enough.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

My editing is even a step beyond Paty's and I couldn't even begin to go into it here. But I have to admit, this depth of editing is new for me since I've taken Margie Lawson's Empowering Characters Emotions seminar. And just to torture myself, I'm taking her course specifically on editing, called the EDITS system...sometime later this summer.

There is no doubt about it--it is excrutiating. But it is also amazing and powerful.

I think the way you edit depends a lot on how your write and what you write.

I write ST/RS, upwards of 120k, so I'm going for depth in every area of my novel, including subplots and secondary characters, where in genre romance at say 70k, you wouldn't have the same depth.

Also, I get to know my characters as I write. I'm a plotter, no way around that, and by the way Paty edits, I'd venture to say she's a plotter, too. (Just a hunch, probably wrong.) But my characters do their own thing, more often than my plotter's mind would like. My stories sometime create subplots of their own, and occationally my characters do, too.

That's a lot to handle in one or two edits. For me the first couple passes over the story deepens my work, the final couple refines it.

Then we get into agent's requested edits...and I just can't go there now.

I print mine out to edit. I do the highlighting, the underlining, etc. as well, extensively. I buy my ink cheap on ebay, turn in the used cartridges at Staples for a $3 coupon and use it to buy paper, so printing for me is relatively cheap. I also use both sides of the paper for printing edits.

I could go on, but it's already making me a little queasy, so I can only imagine how you all feel.

Ah, the joy of edits.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Joan, I'm almost afraid to ask what your editing process entails.


Okay, I'm asking. Share, please.

3:37 PM  

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