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Monday, June 17, 2013

The List of Words To Jump Start My Editing or I Have To Read It Again?

MUSE MONDAY
By the end of this month I should be receiving the final galley from my publisher for my next publication. If you don't write, you probably have no idea how many times an author reads her own work. Not only do we read it several times to make edits before sending it off to a publisher, but if it's contracted we have to read it several more times. First my editor reads it and marks it up for everything from typos to plot glitches. Then I read it a few more times. And believe it or not, I always find something.


Once I have a completed manuscript and I'm happy with the story, I then begin the arduous task of technical editing. I say arduous because editing is not my favorite thing. So I have a cheat sheet to get me going. This is part of the list I use to check my work against.

Over used or weak words:
It
Felt                 
Was
for me, at her, to him, etc.                  
Were
And                 
Just
Simply
Even
That
Clearly
Besides
Well
Up, down
Started
Began
Tried
Trying
Saw
Noticed
Know or thought (he knew, she thought, etc) 

I don't mean to say the above words can never be used, but often a better word is, well...better. Or you can delete them all together.

My list goes on and on but this gives you an idea of the editing process.

By the way, I'll be traveling for a couple of weeks and will more than likely miss posting Muse Mondays. Hope you all have a good rest of June!

16 comments:

  1. I have three columns on my A4 sheet but the main culprits are: just, almost, decided, and any variation on the verb 'to be.'

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  2. Oh, Brenda, this so speaks to me, having "just" received my galleys. My editor is the most patient lady in the world!!! I absolutely couldn't believe all those words such as the ones you listed that I kept finding...and finding. Among my many culprits-just and simply. Plus, I'll get a word in my head and find I repeat it frequently in a section--without even realizing it. Good post! Barb Bettis

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    1. Thanks, Barb. My biggest problem is talking about eyes too much. Boy do my characters eyes play a big part. LOL

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  3. I've just started the fine-toothed-comb, nearly-finished re-read of a book I plan to publish sometime this summer, and I'm also trying to eradicate my over-used words. UGH! After reading my own work so many times, it's hard to see the individual words.

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    1. That is a tough one. It's really tough to see something we've seen too much. Ha.

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  4. My new editor told me you don't have to get rid of all the problem words (like was), just don't use them so often.

    Janice~

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    1. When I was first warned about was, I tried to rid the ms of all of them. Dumb. If I can easily reword it now, I do. But if not, it stays. Thanks, Janice.

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  5. Balance is the key to writing a good story. My first couple of drafts are always filled with overused words. I always have to go back to eliminate some of them.

    Great post!
    Kelley

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    1. Thanks, Kelley. Always good to pound it out and worry about overused words later.

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  6. This is a great list. I am going through a manuscript right now with a fine tooth comb. It's amazing how much we use these words and don't even realize it. Great post!

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  7. Very helpful! I printed the list to keep handy.

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  8. This makes me think of Stephenie Meyer's (author of the Twilight Saga) favorite word: Chagrin. It got to the point where I cringed every time that word popped up!

    SO, don't be on the look out for just "plain" words! Any word too many times can start to drive your reader batty!

    Thanks for the list, Brenda!

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    Replies
    1. Oh so true. That is a great word but once or twice is quite enough. LOL

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