Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Writing Out of Order: Editing Phase One: Getting It from Me to You

As I mentioned in my last post, the first edit is really a fleshing out.  Sometimes when I am in a hurry in certain sections I write material like a poor screen-writer's manuscript.  Talking heads, negative space, and smiles galore.  Not all of it, though.  The part that drove me to write the scene is usually rich in details, including phrasing options.  Those get pared down or changed in the edits.

The second edit comes a week later after each same block from the five novels is done.  This is the first, real edit pass.  This is not the time to flesh out material; instead it should be pretty close.  Of course, with the newer written bits, I do more than grammar check.  But mostly this is to make the writing look pretty and clean. 

I start the second edit by saving the file as a new name appendage, called Polish.  Using the Search and Replace function in MS Word, and highlight key words such as be forms, will forms, had forms, -ly adverb forms, there was/were, it was/were, now, then, and by.  I am a passive voice and adverb queen, dual crowns.  Highlighting these help me get rid of less polished wording.  Then I double space it.  Then I open the file up in my main (free!) writing program, Rough Draft, because it allows me to see how many of each search function and I can note it in the handy notepad feature.  I have to admit, I don't always get rid of many of these.  But every little bit helps, especially if I have the same structure in a paragraph unintentionally.

As I edit, I highlight the completed paragraph, change to single spacing on it, and remove highlights.

At the end, I recount those bug words above.  I do happy dance when I drop the number by the tens; I sulk when I drop it by one or none word.  Then I move on.

Finally, if I am to post, I usually resave the file as Postable, and use the Replace feature in Word to add extra paragraph spacing (^p^p) and remove the tabs (^t).  I save as an RTF, then I copy and paste it to Rough Draft--because Word acts up when you try to save a RTF as a text--and save the text version there.  Voila, it is ready to be posted.  Generally, if I have to cut it up because of length, I do it within Blogger.

PS:   Do not be deceived, this is not the last edit, but is the last to mention in this post.


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