I am knee deep in the content edits for my new novel FIRE IN THE WOODS. The turn-around on the editing is KILLER.
So far, I’ve done okay. Easy changes to make the plot-lines flow more smoothly.
Then I got to the hard stuff.
The editor mentioned three words she felt were over used. So I went back and revised them to a minimum. However, in doing this, I made notes of what I changed those words to in order to make sure I did not overuse these new words as well.
This is when the editing became a nightmare. Each overused word I found, I changed. If it was a new word, I added it to the list to check later.
In the end, I had a list of 94 words to check. Each time I made a change, if it was a new word, I added it to the list. My goal was to use the words no more than once every twenty pages. Now, I have to admit they got a little closer than that at the end. There are just so many ways to explode something. But this process was long and tedious for me.
This led to long nights and a weekend behind the computer.
Okay, maybe I did NOT need to do this now. This kind of thing is normally not part of the content edit, but now that I saw the problem, I could not send it back until it was fixed. The perfectionist in me just wouldn’t allow it.
I mean seriously: Do characters have to shake their heads/hands/or other extremities 94 times?
For your own search-and-destroy pleasure, here is the list of 94 words, and the rabbit trail that followed. Not all of these words were overused, but most of them were. For instance, “spewed” only appears once in my manuscript, but it was a word that I used to replace something else.
My challenge: Take a look for these in your own manuscripts. Some involving explosions may not apply to everyone, but some of the everyday words might surprise you. Try to use them only once every 20 pages and feel my pain.
I’ve already handed in my edits, and just reading over that list again made me tired.