Thursday, May 19, 2016

Editing Tips

Editing Tips 
Or 
How I Try to Stay Sane 
By Daryl Devore

Let's just start with I hate edits. When I send my manuscript to the editor – I truly want it to come back fairly clean – minimal suggestions or corrections. If I had to analyze myself, I'd say this is because of high school. I wanted great marks, so I tried to hand in a "perfect" paper. Getting an essay back, or a manuscript, that looks like it has just been through a teenage slasher movie raises my blood pressure to critical. All the little voices in my head run around screaming and I charge straight for the nearest box of chocolate.

So I have devised a few tricks to try and lessen the agony of edits. I'll list my top 3.

Go To Words (over used) – I highlight my personal ones and ones I have learned from doing critiques for other people.

In my first book, my 2 go to words were "that" and "just". Next book – I watched for those and proudly submitted the manuscript knowing it was pretty clean of those offenders, only to learn I'd picked up a new go to word – headed. Every character headed somewhere.

That's when I starting paying attention. I now have a massive list of things to watch for.

And yet, I still came up with a new one. I asked a friend to do a beta for me and she pointed out there were a lot of uses of "then". She read book 2 of a 3 book series. So I went and checked the other 2 – wow – can I use then a lot!!!! An edit I did for a friend – in her first book everything was black. He drove a black car. Her hair was black. His mood was black. I tacked on a list of words that meant black. Problem solved. Next book I critiqued for her, very few uses of black – yay!!! But everything had gone brown. He drove a brown car. Her hair was brown. His eyes were brown.

I'm waiting for her next book to see which colour is next.

Next thing I always look for is what I call "was ing" – passive verbs. She was walking to the store. This is how I check for it – was and ing . Yes, the manuscript erupts with colour, but at that moment I am only looking for the 2 colours close to each other. What's funny, is even after that how many passive verbs still exist in my document. But I have a cp who is my passive verb queen. She will not let them pass!!

And my 3rd trick, is to make the font massive. I will expand the font to 36 or 48. Plus, on page view, blow it up to 200%. This puts few words on a line or on a page. Below is a screen shot of the opening of one of my WIPs. I find myself looking at each word and can check for spelling errors or whatever much easier than if I leave it in normal font. In normal font, I tend to get wrapped up in the story and forget check for things.
I do these tricks not only with my manuscript, but also for my friend's trying to catch all the little things.

What's your favourite editing trick?

At this point there is supposed to be a cover and blurb and maybe an excerpt – except I don't have a new release to discuss here. The book I thought would be ready, I pulled from my publisher and am in the process of deciding what to do with it.

About Daryl
Daryl lives in an in old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a large salt water aquarium full of fish and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road, or snow shoe across the back acres and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She's been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flew high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life's an adventure and Daryl's having fun living it.
Daryl Devore – http://myeroticnotions.blogspot.com
Victoria Adams – http://victoriadams.blogspot.com

12 comments:

  1. Hi Daryl: such great advise. I too feel crushed when I get edits back that have errors. Had to smile re: go to words. In my last book I had everyone "slipping"...such as arms around shoulders or slipping into chairs and cars etc. Wow you have really had some great experiences.

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one :-)I'll have to watch for slipping :-).

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  2. I especially like the tip about enlarging the font. That trick alone will help with wordsmithing and balancing the rhythm of the sentence. Thanks.

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  3. The enlarged font is a fabulous trick - so simple and I discover so much.

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  4. I do the text -to-speech function on word or pdf. Its robotic, but it'll read the words written and not what my mind reads. Example: my character clenched her firsts...which I had auto corrected as fists when I read the manuscript.

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    1. Yes - I've used that function too. It's great. I had the word wind - as in the wind blew. It read it as wind - as in Please wind the clock. Then I was convinced somehow I spelled wind (blowing air) wrong :-)

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  5. Those are fabulous suggestions! I love getting my edits because they help me get better!

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    1. Wish I could think that way - but they only raise my blood pressure.

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  6. Omigosh - my pet words....just, simply, really, only....I have a deep and abiding love of adverbs, lol.

    Great tips - I'll be enlarging my ms when I proof it!

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