Advice, Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Revision, Tips, Writing

Adventures in Editland!

redpenmark I’ve been held captive in a foreign land. Editland, it’s called. It’s a paper kingdom, ruled by Pencil the Red. Blog access is severely restricted, Facebook is but a shadow, and there’s barely a peep from Twitter. Too long a stay there could take the shine off the apple of your eye.

Today, I thought I’d share some things that came to light while editing my novel. They may or may not apply to your work.

  • Character slip: I have three main characters, two are poetic and one is streetwise. As I read, one poetic description of the houses along the shore jumped out at me. Why? The scene is supposed to be in the POV of my streetwise character and she would never use such a description.
  • Overused words: I‘m doing well in culling superfluous “that”s, and in an earlier post, I noted that I’m aware I use far too many “buts.” However, I was shocked to find I’ve used the word “stood” a ghastly number of times in my manuscript. Crutch words are not always the usual suspects.
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda: A few places, I summarized, when I should have detailed. One particular scene described a party. I elaborated a bit, but I was anxious to get to aftermath of this party … the chocolate scene. I think the aftermath now has more impact, for two reasons: the reader will sympathize more with Jalal and the reader will get another indication of Meredith’s tendency to avoid confronting the unpleasant.
    I’m continuing to fine tune, so if you have tips for things to watch for, share them in the comments section.

    Next step: working on that dreaded query letter!

    20 thoughts on “Adventures in Editland!”

    1. You should check out the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It finds dozens of ‘first-draft’ problems, like overused words, repeated words, LY adverbs, cliches, redundancies, etc.

      I totally recommend it.


    2. This may not be an appropriate comment, but your post got me to thinking about editing my own ms. In one critique I received, the critiquer changed every instance of “said John” to “John said”; example.

      “Close the door,” said John.
      “Close the door,” John said.

      This seemed needlessly nitpicky to me, but maybe I’m missing something. The critiquer was British, so maybe that’s part of it. Any thoughts?


      1. Hmmm, I don’t know if that’s a British convention. Even so, it’s certainly not WRONG to write “he said” so I think the critiquer was out of order to change them. I do occasionally change the order in my writing, but only because sometimes it sounds better that way.


    3. I was reading a revision book last night that suggested to go on a “which” hunt. Which isn’t bad, but sometimes “that” is more appropriate. I’m still trying to figure out the difference and if I’ve used them wrong.


    4. Have you discovered how to use a function in word that allows one to find out how many times one word us used in a document? I keep hearing a rumor about this, but have not yet found out how!


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