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Friday, May 4, 2012
12:00 AM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
Yup, I impressed myself this week.
Started with a definite bad impression. I didn’t complete the April pirate challenge. Just. Didn’t. Happen.
Lots of reasons, most of them with the initials R.T. But it wasn’t the only reason. Lots of reasons, nothing to really relate.
I did hit a breakthrough with the current WIP and think it will be finished by mid-month…maybe sooner.
In the meantime, May hit and I got a bee in my bonnet about looking at an older MS, already in the hand of my agent. I hadn’t opened it in more than a year, and maybe…no, no maybe about it… I had learned a ton of stuff in that last year. It was time to tackle it and see what I could do.
So, Wednesday night, I cracked it open and fiddled my way through four chapters…replacing pronouns, untwisting sentences, correcting misspellings, a bit of polish here, a bit there… The next day, yesterday, I sat in Starbucks just past noon and opened it again. Four hours later, I was done. 80k MS polished.
I am impressed with myself!
All in all, it went fairly easy. Why?
Well, I hadn’t fiddled with this story in more than a year, it was fresh and new to my eyes. I’d always liked the story and as I moved through it, I was such a pleasure to see it rise from my computer in better shape.
I’m generally not a very good self-editor. Too close to the story, too aware of what I want to say to see the problems with how I said it. That’s me. Generally, if it’s pointed out to me, I can focus on the errors. Like a bright light hits the mistakes and suddenly I can SEE! A fresh set of eyes makes all the difference. Or distance.
But I’m working on it. A few things are falling into place that is helping. I’m taking a class on self-editing, starting next week. I’m also looking into that program that reads a book aloud, to help me hear the things that need fixing.
I’m currently listening to a book, Chill Factor, by Sandra Brown, as read by the delicious Stephen Lang. And I’m hearing all sorts of things that bother me… Leaving me to believe that this could be a valuable tool to self-editing.
So, two new tools for me. Distance and hearing my MS. I did read The Kraken’s Mirror aloud, but it made me hoarse. ;-)
I know that track changes is a valuable tool, but I cannot figure out how to make the thing work for me. How do I get it to highlight every instance of ‘she’ or ‘he’ or ‘was’ …? I need a real primer on how to use track changes… I also picked up two readers this week and I look forward to hearing what they ‘see.’
What are your favorite self-editing/polishing methods? Do I have a right to be impressed by 80k in approximately 7 hours?