4 March 2013

EDITING - WEEDING MY MANUSCRIPT GARDEN

I tend to do a good deal of sitting in my occupation so I do like to at least start my day on the move.  Especially, when I'm going to spend my day editing a manuscript.  Not only does getting outside help me sort out plot glitches in my mind, but it can be a source of inspiration in fixing them.

This morning as the sun comes up, I'm off to the lake for my change of scene.




Mr and Mrs Black Swan with their two little swans

These black swans seem to think I've brought breakfast, but they'll be disappointed because all I have is my camera.
 
If I'm not careful, I'll get carried away taking pictures and forget to go home to edit! 










 So between the swans, ducks, not to mention the scenery as well as the people I meet on the way, it's time to head home to another day at my desk where I'm reading, for the umpteenth time, Once Upon A Lie. 

It can get a bit waring when you've read something over and over again.  I feel like I could recite all 60,000 words.  Nevertheless, it's necessary to read and re-read your work because each time you do, you'll find things that need attention.  Of course, with each read through there will be fewer of those glitches - hopefully.

So, what do I look for when weeding my manuscript garden?

  • Words and/or expressions that I've used far too often - this is where the "find" button comes in handy.   For me that is the word "moment", according to my daughter.  My most stringent critic! 
  • Clunky sentences.  Did I write that? 
  • A couple of sub-plots too many.  You don't want your readers reaching for the aspirin bottle.
  • Grammar.
  • The right word choices.
  • Too much detail or too little detail.
  • Dialogue scenes.  Is it clear who is speaking?
  • Check the pace.  It needs to be not too slow, but not too fast either.  I sound like one of the 3 bears.
  • Have all my characters been introduced or at least mentioned in the first 20-30 pages?
  • Are all plots and sub-plots tied up and all questions answered by the end of the book?    
Of course, you could go on editing forever because you will always find something you can tweak, so beware.  Know when it's time to stop.  And then what, you ask?

You send it away to a professional assessor to weed your manuscript with a fresh eye!



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6 comments:

  1. I found your blog through the WLC Blog Follow, at the World Literary Cafe. What a great way to connect.

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  2. Nice photos and advice about editing. It's surprising how many times you can go through a manuscript and still find something you want to change or a type you made. I'm sure that is why professional editors charge so much per page, it is very detailed work.

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    1. I agree, Anna. Plus every time you read through your manuscript you find new ways to say things. I should pay myself a lot of money for editing Once Upon A Lie!

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  3. I've only just joined Blogaholic and you were my next door neighbor on the blog list so I took a peek. Sounds like you have the same objectives I do when editing, but you have a much nicer name for it. I like that. "Weeding the Manuscript Garden." Nice. Nice blog site, too!

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    1. It's always good to meet ones next door neighbour Brendan. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. I shall visit you shortly.

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