Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I'm editing. It's a dreaded task, but something I need to do. My critique group is only about 60 pages into my novel, but I keep going back and layering in description, tightening dialog and searching for those terrible words that I have a tendency to sprinkle in my manuscript.

Here's my formula for editing.

The list of words I tend to overuse is posted by my computer. I do a search on those words, highlight them, then go through and tighten the writing by eliminating them. It's a long process, but I love the search feature. It's so much easier than printing the thing out and trying to find them manually.

Once in a while I'll change a character's name after I've started the manuscript, so I'll do a search on any names I may have changed just to make sure John is still John and not Bill or Harry. I've seen names change in novels I've read and it always leaves me scratching my head.

I'll also highlight all my beats and make sure I'm not overusing actions--like always having someone hike their eyebrows. Unless, of course, they are an eyebrow hiker by nature.

Adverbs and adjectives get the hairy eyeball, too. Are they justified? If not, out they go.

How about you? What's your process for editing your manuscript?


Claudia said...

I'm into my editing also and agree with Tricia about word searches, character names and even rewrite paragraphs because of changes. I'm one of those writers who does a lot of editing as I write the first draft - especially the synonym search! Also, it sometimes takes a new set of eyes to notice the word(s) you use repeatedly, but once known do a search on those also.

Tricia Sanders said...

Claudia--you are so right about the new eyes. I'd never know I was a flipper without another set of eyes.