Tag Archives: line edits

Editing Under Pressure. Yes, It can be done #2

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.

Ugh.

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.

Seriously___Come_on..._Seriously___00000

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.

Dang/Darn/Dernit

Shoot

Wow

Woa

Holy cow

Yikes

Sheesh

Geeze

Crap

God/Oh God

Say

Boy

Funny

Screamed

Howled

Shriek

Flinch

Gritted

Trembled

Adjusted

Moved

Shrugged

Pushed

Gazed

Scared

Terrified

Beckoned

Reeled

Burned

Itched

Seared

Handling

Recoiled

Throbbed

Spewed

Echoed

Yearn

Warn

Shuddered

Quaked

Bite cheek

Straighten

Eyes wide

Gape

Hunch

Looked

Spread

Slid

Churn

Singed

Shoved

Shimmied

Shiver

Tremor

Begged

Darkened

Strode

Startled

Gasp

Gulp

Alarmed

Chilled

Dumfounded

Frightened

Petrified

Wheezed

Whimpered

Sigh

Succumb

Groan

Moan

Grunted

Hitch

Shouted

Wailed

Stared

Shift weight

Thunder

Shook

Exhale

Finger

Grimaced

Slumped shoulders

Rub temples

Clenched

Puffed

Spoke

Hollered

Yelled

Called

Barked

Huffed

Sneered

Grumbled

I’ve already handed in my edits, and just reading over that list again made me tired.

What words do you tend to overuse?

_JenniFer____EatoN

Road to Publication #9: Publisher responds to my “Re-edits”

Well, overall they liked the changes.  Yay!  There were four things they felt strongly about.

#1 They thought an eleven year old girl would not say “You’re a jerk”.  They wanted to change it to “You’re mean”.  Okay, I guess that’s all right.  It’s not as funny, but I’ll go with it.  At least they agreed to put that scene back in. (They originally wanted to completely remove it.)

#2 They wanted to change up a scene where three characters were talking.  They sent me an excerpt of what they wanted to do, but I couldn’t put my mind around it.  I needed to ask to see the changed manuscript.

#3 In the climax, they felt strongly about the way it happened.  Apparently, I did not “show” it well enough to give them a clear picture.  I took some things for granted, and I supposed it backfired.  They wanted to change it to the way they “thought” it had happened, which really wouldn’t be all that big a deal, but I didn’t think what they suggested was even physically possible.  I tried re-writing the scene, and asked them if I’d done a better job of expressing what happened.

#4 They did not like my last word.  Not the sentence… just the last word.  I thought if they had a problem with the ending, that they’d want to trash the last six words.  But nope.  Just the last word.

The problem is that changing the last word to what they wanted would change the entire tone of the story.  It is also a poetic ending, and it was not the right amount of syllables.  I know… that sounds really stupid. You’ll understand when you see it.

I suggested a different word that I think expressed what they wanted, but with the correct amount of syllables.  We’ll see what happens.

Overall, I think I am happy at the moment.  I would really like to read it one more time to make sure everything is okay.  I feel helpless… not having the version that they are working off of right in front of me, and I don’t like okaying things piece-meal.

Road to Publication #6: The Dreaded Line Edits. Yes, it is as bad as everyone says.

When the email containing the line edits popped up from my publisher, my stomach sank.  Here it was, two weeks or so after I submitted my final MS to them.  This is the part that all writers dread.

I didn’t open the email for a while.  I calmly responded to everything else that was in my queue before I even looked at it.

Then, of course, I could procrastinate no longer.  It said in big bold print “READ THIS EMAIL BEFORE YOU OPEN THE ATTACHMENTS”.  Like a good little girl, I did.  It was probably good that I did, because it kept me from throwing things.

They explained first that one attachment shows all the edits they made, and in some cases, comments why they made them.  The second attachment was a clean copy that was not marked up, showing the MS as it would look if I accept all their suggestions/edits.

I grit my teeth, and opened the “marked up” attachment.

No, I was not happy.

To some extent, I expected this.  Every author I have spoken to has gone through it…  The slicing panic, the urge to kill, the personal affront. –My publisher warned in the email that I would feel this way, and gave leeway to vent to the poor marketing liaison if it would make me feel better. – I didn’t do that – I did the right thing.  I read it, I grit my teeth, and I went to bed.

There’s a ton to be learned here, so let me digest it all (and work on my MS, of course) and we’ll go through it next week.  Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel – eeeerrr… um… same web-site address, that is.

Awe, forget about it… Tune in next week.