If you recall, last Monday I promised myself I wouldn’t touch my manuscript for a week. I made it six and a half days. It was a long six and a half days. I thought a lot about my book. I felt lost without it. I was anxious.
Then, I read a blog discussion at Edittorrent about introductory present participial phrases being the mark of an amateur writer. I didn’t even have to look. I was horrified, embarrassed, and knew I wouldn’t make it until this morning. I was guilty of the use of PPP’s and couldn’t wait to banish them from my manuscript.
Last night, I began the first stage run-through. I found two commas in bizarre places, a fragment of a sentence (an artifact from a previous edit) but, so far, only a couple PPP’s. Not nearly as many as I had imagined. Still …
So, today I continue on this pass, correcting any grammar and syntax errors, which distract me from simply reading. While writing this novel, I’ve kept a list of “things to check.” Some of these are general, such as keeping each of my characters’ speaking patterns and word choices consistent, but specific to my story is Jalal’s limited use of contractions, so I have to watch for that.
Because I’ve written this novel in close third point of view, I also have this note to myself: “Limit the use of saw, heard, and thought to keep deep in viewpoint. Also check for words like felt, thought, wondered, realized… they are usually distancing.”
I have many more things to keep in mind as I edit, but when I’m done with this run-through, I will print it out again and put my first layer of polish on. I will search for perfect words to replace almost-but-not-quite words. I will look for places to add details to make this manuscript sing. And then … I will seek feedback from beta readers and start once more, from the top.