Today Rachel Rossano is stopping by and talking editing.
Editing is the necessary evil every good writer endures in the journey to publication. I used to hate editing so much that I refused to edit until months (sometimes years) after I finished a manuscript. Now I am wading through those old manuscripts, bringing them up to date, polishing the writing style, correcting the cliches, fixing typos, and eradicating my bad writing habits of the years past.
Here are some items from my editing checklist.
Words that usually need to be removed:
- had (frequently not necessary)
- said (or other dialogue tags when it is clear who is saying what)
- was/were/is (can usually be easily replaced by an active verb)
Words that usually need to be changed for something else or deleted entirely because I use them too frequently (They are allowed in extremely small quantities.):
- look, looked, noticed
- felt, feel
- could, would
Things to watch for:
Head hopping (switching POV without a break)
Poetic or high description from a character that isn't a writer or inclined that way
- Pace (Is the story moving forward at an appropriate pace)
- Sentence structure (too many long sentences, too many short, too many of the same kind, or an inappropriate one for the pace, e.g., a long complex sentence at a point of high action in the story)
- Guys talking like girls (for example, about their feelings)
- Too much crying
- Conversations that are realistic (sort of) and dialogue where characters sound like themselves (good thing)
- Phrases that pull the reader out of the story or draw unnecessary attention to the POV character. For example, "I looked up. His face tightened with grief." Deleting the first sentence would actually make the second stronger by focusing the reader's attention on the person being observed, not the observer (the POV character). I hope this makes sense. It tends to be tricky to explain.
- Telling when I should be showing and the opposite, showing when I should be telling. The reader doesn't need to know the minute movements necessary to fix tea. But, she/he would probably be interested in the physical response of everyone in the room when the hero drops a plot bomb in the middle of the tea party conversation.
So, what items are on your editing checklist? I might have missed something.
Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a winter of starvation if they do not find a solution soon.
Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king. When that same king demands Tomas marry the impoverished daughter of the late Lord Wisten, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.
Duty: a novel of Rhynan follows their journey from strangers to friends as they face complications from their pasts and the shaky politics of a changing regime. Then Brielle is implicated in her cousin’s treasonous activities. Can a marriage of duty survive treason?
Author of a growing stack of novels, novellas, and short stories, Rachel Rossano balances her time between the chaos of raising and homeschooling her three children and the world of drama and high adventure in her head. With her faithful husband and chief consulting editor by her side, she dreams of many more adventures to come in both of her double lives. Check out her work at http://Rachel-rossano.blogspot.com.
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