Thursday, July 19, 2012

scattered thoughts on editing

A big revision is due tomorrow. I haven't missed a deadline yet. I'm not halfway done on this pass. So let's make this quick.

1. Try not to use an unusual word twice on one page. "The" or "man" is fine. "Frittered" or "posthumous" not so much. Words should never catch a reader's attention enough to draw them out of the story.

2. Remember to switch up your nouns when referring to the same thing over and over again on the same page. He/him/the old man/ the sailor/the grizzled seaman/Jack. Repetition is bad news.

3. If you forget a little detail, keep a list nearby as a reminder. I have one that says things like "hats off on the ship" and "remember gloves" and "neckline of blue dress." Consistency is important, especially when you make one change that ripples down. Your readers will notice minor details that you might lose track of while revising.

4. Every writer and every book has a word or phrase that's overused. In general, I use "little" a little too much. In this book, everything is done "darkly". I suggest going to Wordle and creating a word cloud for your book. The phrase/word you use the most will be the biggest word in the cloud, and then you can use Find to kill it throughout the document.

5. When you're in a big rush, don't stop to blog, even though it's important.


Lexi H said...

Hahaha, number 5 is great!

Virginia Valerie said...

We're not commenting because we do care, not because we don't care. :-) Revise like the wind! Which is to say fast.