I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Few Things I've Learned Doing Edits...


by Patricia Bradley

Since the day I started writing, I’ve heard from published authors about the dreaded edits. Not all authors, but enough that after Revell bought Shadows of the Past, I anticipated the email from my editor somewhat anxiously. For all I knew, she might want me to rewrite the whole book.

And then the letter came. It could have been worse. One thing was embarrassing, though. I had a few misspelled words in the manuscript. And they would not have been there if I had run a global spell check. I really think gremlins got in that attachment with my manuscript, because I thought I had checked and double checked. But I hadn’t run the global. Run it before hitting send. And it would not hurt to run the grammar part of it, either.

While the following were not in the notes my gracious editor sent, there are a few other things I’ve found while completing the edits.

·         Was. While I didn’t have a super abundance of the word, I did find quite a few passive sentences that could be changed to active. Do a search for the word was but remember that every was sentence isn’t passive. Only when the subject is acted upon. Like: Bill was hit by the car. Better: The Cadillac Escalade hit Bill.
·         Other Weasel words. I seem to love the words just, but, that, and even.   If you’re not sure if you overuse a word, copy your manuscript into Wordle.net and learn what words you use the most. And for a good article on weasel words, check out Heidi Main's blog. Here is a wordle for my manuscript before I edited.
·         Heard, thought, decided, wonder. These are words that take a reader out of deep 3rd person POV. When I used the Wordle site, I was surprised at some of the words I used often. Like heard. When I checked each instance, most of the time I used the word in conversation, but not all. I discovered I used thought a lot as a noun, but not a verb, which was okay.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned as I edit. If you have a question about the process, leave a comment with your question, and I’ll try to answer. Or leave a comment and tell some of your weasel words or words that you overuse.

Pat Trainum writing as Patricia Bradley
http://www.ptbradley.com/
http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/
@PTBradley1

Shadows of the Past from Revell February 2014

I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write

17 comments:

  1. Weasel words. Yep. I sure have those. Probably my worst problem is action tags, though I've gotten better. My characters may still grin too much, but not as often as when I first created them. ;-)

    Thanks for the great tips, Pat. Going to check out Wordle.net now.

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    1. Mine smile lots and lots, Roxanne. I'm planning to work on that more on my next pass through. :)

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  2. Thanks, Roxanne. I use Wordle often, and probably should have put the wordle I created in the blog. Oooh! I think I'll do that!

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  3. Thanks so much, Pat. This is wonderfully valuable help--think I'll print out and paste in a strategic place, like on my filing cabinet or inside my computer case.
    Thanks for walking this journey before the rest of us. And love the red-headed pic. :)

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  4. Thanks, Dee. I've learned so much in this process.

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  5. Pat, I love this, and the Wordle picture was fun to see too. I'm still figuring out my revision/editing process. :) I plan to input my ms into Wordle pretty soon, though, to see what it reveals.

    I know some of my weasel words are Back, Eye (d), and Just.

    Just out of curiosity, what's your favorite/least favorite part about the editing process?

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the post. I really don't have a least favorite part. I would almost rather rewrite than to write. While I'm writing the first draft, I keep telling myself: You can't rewrite what you haven't written. lol Oh, and I noticed your 3 weasel words are mine, tool

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  6. Weasel words...now I know and will tackle in my own writing. Thanks, Pat.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl. I doubt you have any weasel words. :-)

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  7. Fabulous blog, Pat! One of the best editing tips for practical use I've seen in quite a while. I am terrible with the words "that", "looked", "just", and was. I find myself needing to check those over and over in my scenes. I didn't know about wordle though, I might have to check that out. I'm editing right now, so this is very timely!

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    1. Wordle really helps me see what I need to take a second look at. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Great post, Pat! Thanks for the info. I keep a running list of things to check in my manuscript. I will actually go through and find and replace certain words with their capitalized version. i.e. was is now WAS, just is now JUST. That way when I read through it, my mistakes stand out. My weasel words are just, thought, and that. As much as I try to avoid them, they "just" pop up everywhere!

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  9. I know, Jenny. Those words are like jack-in-the-boxes. I didn't have too many instances of was, which I am glad, and most of them weren't passive, but in places I needed a slower action.

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  10. Pat, this is such good advice. Those weasel words just seem to pop up out of nowhere, don't they? The edits for my novel showed how directionally challenged I am -- even though I had studied a map -- and how little I know about weather patterns. LOL!

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  11. I love your analogy, Johnnie. I'm going through the final read-through on my Kindle and still finding them. lol

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  12. Catching up on reading blogs today, Pat.

    Very useful. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

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  13. Pat -- thank you so much for the information. I totally found lots of "was" in my manuscript. I'm working through them!

    I'm going to check on the sites you mentioned.

    Blessings!

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