Friday, March 16, 2012

FRIDAY ~ Editing...don't over do it!

thank you to Rich Evans for use of pic!
Okay, so you might realize I've been busy. Writing my fingers to the bone--they're bleeding (see picture if you don't believe me!)

Or maybe you haven't missed me all that much. That's fine. I'm okay with that. You're all busy too. We're writers and some of us are either working on our WIP, or taking a break. You do need to take breaks once in a while. Don't feel that this is a bad thing. It is not! I once took a 4-year break from writing completely. But I worked on my craft hobby during that time, which was fun.

I'm working on edits on third book. I like using the find button of my edits selection. I type in a word, or phrase and it will find that word or phrase throughout your mss. If I hit "find all", it will do that in a matter of seconds. I then hit the high light button and I'm done with high lighting that word or selected phrase. This is one thing I find that makes the job so much easier for working on the edits. And since we can't read through with our eyes the over-used words like was, or that, or even, etc., this high lighting idea helps you see them, so to make your job a little quicker (I had not done this with the first two book--stupid, I know!), and you won't spend quite so much time working through it over and over again.

When you are editing, it's a good idea to not over-edit. If you pick up any printed book (traditional paperback), you will see that these words will still be in use. We don't have to get crazy and yank every was, even, that, as, or but etc. out. Especially when these words are in dialogue, because people do speak that way. What you want to do is make sure you don't have a trail of WAS all the way through your pages. Try and get as many of them out as you can.

Now, I'm going to give you an excerpt from one of my favorite authors to give you an idea of how sometimes these "be" words are still left in. You'll notice that the read is fine. It sounds very much like your best friend is talking to you, while relating her story to you (first person).

From Embrace the Night by Karen Chance:

I heard him yell something in French and felt a bullet whiz by my head, but it was unimportant because I was falling, and there was nothing to hold on to, just sliding dirt and limestone rocks crumbling beneath my hands. My arms flailed wildly, grasping for the one thing I had to find, but for a long second I felt only air. Then my fingers collided with something warm and alive and I grabbed it and we were both falling. There was a dizzying rush of air and my power wouldn't come and all I could think was that I'd killed us both--then my brain whited out and my heart tried to stop and reality twisted and bent around us.

I might have tried to pull a few there was's, and I felt's, but this is Chances' style. Who can argue when you are a New York Times Bestseller?

My main point is to not go crazy trying to delete and somehow find a replacement for the "be" verbs. I can't even find my list of all of them, but I've listed a few.

My lazy writing tends to be the phrases it seems to, and I felt, and I saw, and I heard. These are the ones I'm most concerned with because when I read it through I'm wanting to vomit all over my PC, and that wouldn't be blood like in the picture above. Sorry...

Anyway, this is what I've been up to. Also I'll be visiting a couple of blogs here and will post a link for them.

So, back to the type pad. Promise no blood... or anything gross.


  1. I'm currently residing in the land of the endless edits. Seemed to, watching, and managing are the phrases I'm on the hunt for.

    Good luck with your edits!

  2. My big ones are "suddenly" and "slightly". Not only is everything jumping out and going "HEY!" but appparently it's only kinda-sorta doing that.

    I do agree about not overediting. Sometimes a sentence can't even make correct sense without using one of those words and there's no other nice way to rewrite it. The idea is to not use them so much that the reader (which may include other writers) notices and cares.

  3. Yup. You're right. Don't over edit and don't have trails of certain words. Here and there is okay.

  4. Yeah, M.J., I think "seem to" also is one of mine I have to watch for, but not as bad as it used to be. I try and catch them, but you don't catch all of them.

    Hildred, that's right. The be verbs are there to help a sentence, but to have a page strung up with "was" gets annoying. I once counted 24 "was's" on a single page--from a Peter Straub book!

    Shelly... yes ma'am (^; You've helped me in using the high light on the pages, this helps me more than I can say!

  5. Good advice. I never thought of using the find button. I've been busy with my revisions this week too. That would definitely help! :) Have a good weekend.

    I've passed on the Lucky 7 meme to you on my blog.

  6. Christine... I'm glad to have helped you out on this!
    And thank you (I think) on the Lucky 7 meme.


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