As you know, I recently spent some time editing THE PROPHECY KEEPER, moving forward towards sending it out. Editing for me requires multiple steps and focuses. I have to get peer review, critiques and such, look over how the plot is running, and search for any factual or character fallacies. I have to think about how it would look to a professional in the business. I've had to teach myself to pay close attention to when I get a little bit of an off feeling while reading my work. I'm tempted to ignore that feeling, but I've realized it's wiser to listen to it. Usually it means I've tried to suspend disbelief a little too much.
But on top of all that, as every author knows, there is the dreaded line edit, where you go through and pick out all of your words, make sure every one has their place, and get rid of that darned passive voice. This is very time-consuming. It also gets kind of frustrating. So in order to make it slightly easier, I've compiled for myself a list of words to eliminate or minimize in my novels, so I can go back and search those out specifically and make the line edit quicker.
Many of these words I found through searching the internet for unnecessary phrases to edit away. This was quite useful. Others naturally lend themselves to passive voice and therefore need to be paid attention to. Then still others are my personal word weaknesses, words I use way too often that I need to destroy.
So in order to help all you writers out there, I thought I'd post my list of words to pay attention to while editing (as well as some formatting advice.) I guess it's my way of giving back to the beautiful internet that originally helped me find some of these. Keep in mind as you go through that these are all in past tense forms, as that's my usual tense in writing.
Words to Eliminate
Words That Often Cause Passive Voice
Words That Are Overused
My Own Word Weaknesses
For a moment
Something I recently learned through a dear critique partner is that there is a different between en and em-dashes. The dash I just used right then is an en-dash, and it's used for compound-style words and the like. The em-dash is what you use for flow, when you're breaking up the sentence--like that. If you put two of the small dashes, Word should automatically convert it to a single long dash, the em-dash.
I use em-dashes way too much.
Also, don't forget to properly format before you send out your manuscript! Most of you know the very basics--double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or similar font, with one inch margins. You should also know that you do not use the tab key when you indent paragraphs. You use a standard tab up on the ruler. You should also justify your paragraphs (except for centered titles), rather then having them right.
The page break function is also very useful, so you can start a new chapter without hitting the enter key three thousand times. Then, of course, don't forget your running header. You need your last name, the book title, and the page number. On the title page, you should also have at the top your name and contact information along with the approximate word count.
*the "of" is unnecessary
So good luck with your own editing ventures! Hopefully I have helped you some. Come back next time, everyone, for a humor post!
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