Saturday, August 3, 2013

On Editing


I've gotten through editing chapter one. It's mostly trimming sentences or replacing boring verbs with better ones or clarifying or realizing that I've used the same word twice in same sentence. Truth is, I wonder if it's too front-loaded---if there's actually too much going in the first ten pages or so that it might confuse readers.

I'll worry about that on the next pass, I think.

Instead of printing out the manuscript or immediately handing it over to a beta reader, I uploaded the document onto my Kindle. It's not quite as well-formated as a real e-book would be, but I find that the Kindle is great for reading--no urge to fiddle with my story every ten minutes.

So what I did and what I'm hoping to continue doing as I go through this editing stage is:


  • Reading through the book to see how it reads. Does it make sense? Is there too much of this, too little of that? 
  • Am I filtering? (i.e., do I have Miles looking at things when it's in his POV and therefore, obvious that he has to be looking at it or else why am I even mentioning it?)
  • Is there enough description? Can I picture the setting? (Since, you know, it's been awhile since I've read the first few chapters)
  • Can it be cut? Is it redundant? 
When I find something I want to change, I use the highlight or notes function to make note of it, then go back later and make the change in the document on my laptop. Otherwise, I stare at the words and analyze whether they make sense and do what they need to do. 

Honestly, writing involves as much staring into space as it does actual writing. 

Stuff I'm finding as I read through and make notes on my Kindle, then input said notes into Word: 

  • Too. Many. Adverbs. I feel like adverbs somehow fit well into early 19th century language, but in modern writing, too much of it is a no-no. 
  • Good God, why all the m-dashes?
  • Um, one word instead of three is better. 
  • Why do all my sentences use the verb "to be?" Lots of "was" and "were" going on. 



4 comments:

  1. That's a great idea! I think it'd be really good for my OCD. That or aggravate the crap out of it. Someone was supposed to tell me how to do this a while ago, but it's been so long I don't remember who it was and I don't think they remember either.

    I often found where I've used the same verb twice in the same paragraph. And my characters are always "looking" at stuff. Lol!

    Good luck with the editing! Sounds like you know what you're doing.

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    Replies
    1. I just wanted to see what it looked like on Kindle :) If you have a Kindle, you just email the document to your Kindle email address and it loads up. Pretty easy.

      Not sure what to do about all those "to be" verbs.

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    2. That's easy enough. Lol!

      If I find I'm using "to be" verbs too much, what I'm writing is usually passive. I don't know if that's your case, but it's something to look into to. It may help pare it down some. In my case it's usually because I say, "they were running" instead of "they ran."

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    3. Passive is definitely my problem. I need to dig into some threads at AW about turning passive voice into active voice.

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Thank you so much for your comments and thoughts. Check back soon. I reply to all comments. Happy reading!