Friday, May 19, 2006

Editing foibles

When I edit, there are a lot of things that go through my mind. I look for repetitive words. Words that can be replaced with better ones. Ending a sentence with a preposition (this has stuck with me through the years. So yes, English teachers, I DID pay attention.)

In the first draft, I use Get, Had, and Just. I don't LIKE any of these words. But they seem to like me well enough. I find another verb for Get. I delete Had, if at all possible. And I use the words Simply or Only for Just.
I try to weed out my passive sentences. I check to make sure my eye and hair color matches across the board. I had one book which I started with blue eyes, and they switched to green halfway through the book. *sigh*
I make sure my dialogue tags are appropriate and punctuated correctly. Apparently "hissed" is no longer acceptable. I think it gets the point across (visually), but I've been told to use "bit out" instead.
I don't use two sentences in a row that starts with And. I try not to use one at all. I won't use any name or pronoun three times in a row to start a sentence. Bad form.
Sometimes I have my characters grinning a lot. Hey! I can't help it. I do that. But I try to sprinkle some different facial expressions throughout. This can be entertaining in itself.
I tend to write the word towards. But I've been told that even though we may say that, we should use toward in writing.
I'll go back through a first or second edit and add description where I feel it's appropriate. I'm sure no one needs to know the color of the kleenex a character is using, but don't you want to know what she's wearing?
When I write the first draft, sometimes it's so quick that I think I've written a scene I actually haven't. So I trot back through and make sure everything flows smoothly. Just because it's in my head, it doesn't mean I've written it down.
I make sure all my characters' names are correct. I actually had one book where I (in ONE spot, mind you) inserted a name from another book I was working on. I had to chuckle over that one. After I finished rolling my eyes and smacking myself in the forehead.

Editing is for fine tuning. Picking up those little pieces you've dropped or broken along the way. And you might not get them all the first time. Or the second. But if you keep at it, you'll soon discover your manuscript tightens and flows beautifully.
Sure, you'll get sick and tired of your own words.
But that's another post.


Tori Lennox said...

My best writing friend-word is "was". It loves me. Oh, and my characters are ALWAYS grinning! Or giggling. Re "towards", I always thought that was the British way of using the word. I use it a lot, too.

It occurs to me that we're TWINS!!! *g*

chryscat said...

This explains a LOT! LMAO

Eva Gale said...

I can't use And to start a sentance?