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.