Editing advice – The for-real deal.

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So. You must know by now how easy it is for us to become blind to our mistakes, right?

Right.

There are a few techniques to combat this:

  • Putting the work on back-burner and work on a different project for a while. This works, but it’s a pain if you are on a schedule
  • Having a new set of eyes on the work. -MY FAVE- Having beta readers is invaluable. if you don’t have some, get them. Now.
  • using editor programs. Right now I’m using a combination of Hemmingway(20$ AND WELL WORTH EVERY PENNY) and Grammarly. I’m not paying for that one, but using the free version.

That third bullet point is the one to look at today, ladies and gents. It found a humiliating string of serial mistakes in my work. and makes it generally a better read. (although Hemmingway¬†by default wants to dumb down your writing, so weigh its advice against your stylistic choices. Don’t feel bad about saying no to its suggestions.

It’ll find yours too.

Yes, you have them.

(But I won’t tell anyone, promise!)

Back in the saddle!

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Well, I’m back on the fast, and I’m working through the TEFL certification course a few bits a day.

I’m hangry, but I know it’ll go away when my body recognizes its feeding time.

I lose some good weight last time, and it didn’t bounce back all the way, so here’s to not being a fat bastard in 2018!

 

Reblogging woes.

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When I see a story that deserves reblogging, I usually do it, however, when the author squeezes in advertisements for a service they provide, I won’t do it. I’m not going to promote someone else’s business unless I have used it myself and know they’re on the up and up. My reputation is at stake if I seem to be suggesting a dodgy service/product.

What does that mean? If you want me to advertise your product/service, I need to have used it.

Either way, I don’t care, but I do love to reblog good posts.

Let’s keep this real

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All writers know that they could edit their works forever. Picking at nits for eternity.

This happens for a few reasons, but the most common are:

  1. Insecurity
  2. Error blindness

Most authors are at least somewhat neurotic when it comes to their work, I know I am! After four or five really hard passes, just let it go into the wild. If an agent or publisher thinks you have what it takes, they’ll let you know, even if what you’re peddling isn’t what they’re buying, they know what good writing looks like.

But the main reason I made this post is that pesky second reason, error blindness.

We know our stories inside and out.

They are our children.

This is why we don’t see the flaws.

We know what the story is supposed to be saying. But that’s not always what it IS saying. our minds gloss over the mistakes/problems and we think it’s all good.

**Cue dramatic music**

I found out something amazingly helpful. And it’s at zero cost. …Well, time invested. that’s a cost, I suppose.

What is this miraculous thing, you ask?

Macros

**Dum dum dum!**

So, Word and most other text editors have the ability to use macros. and Modern text editors are pretty damned smart. They can predict what you’re going to write, can recognize mistakes in grammar and useage!

So when you tell your text editor to have a look at your document for you…  the results can be pretty amazing.

Here is an example of one I use a lot. It’s called Needless Words:

Sub NeedlessWords()

‘ Highlights unnecessary words

‘ Written by Roger Mortis, revised by subcortical, adapted by Jami Gold and tweaked by C.K. MacLeod; word list by Janice Hardy

Dim range As range

Dim i As Long

Dim TargetList

TargetList = Array(“then”, “almost”, “about”, “begin”, “start”, “decided”, “planned”, “very”, “sat”, “truly”, “rather”, “fairly”, “really”, “somewhat”, “up”, “down”, “over”, “together”, “behind”, “out”, “in order”, “around”, “only”, “just”, “even”, “gave”)

For i = 0 To UBound(TargetList)

Set range = ActiveDocument.range

With range.Find

.Text = TargetList(i)

.Format = True

.MatchCase = False

.MatchWholeWord = True

.MatchWildcards = False

.MatchSoundsLike = False

.MatchAllWordForms = False

Do While .Execute(Forward:=True) = True

range.HighlightColorIndex = wdTurquoise

Loop

End With

Next

End Sub

SO. Don’t be scared by the wall of code. Just make note of that target list. Those words are often times unneeded (thus the name). So what the macro does, is search the document and highlight all of them. So you then go through it and determine if each instance is indeed useless.   An example, is  When you say:

Janice sat down at the table

The macro says:

Janice sat down at the table

because  “Janice sat at the table” is a stronger sentence, you can remove down with confidence.

**Do look for a ‘turn highlight off’ macro as well, for when you’re done.**

But you can’t be lazy!

You must still do the work, because all this does is highlight suspect words. It’s up to you to recognize what makes a sentence stronger. For example, I generally ignore suggestions that appear in dialog, because that would strip out that character’s personality from it.

You can add words or phrases to that list too.  I like to add in long form contractions, because when I write, often I forget to use contractions, and my writing looks pretentious because of it. Shapow! contractions!

So, flex your Google-Fu and research macros for writers. Your work will thank you for it.

**EDIT**

Hey, if this has been helpful to you at all, please comment and share!