Writer’s Wednesday

The word ‘edit’ falls into my bad four letter word column. I have writer friends who claim to love edits. “It’s great to revisit those characters.” Secretly, I think they like to lick a metal bar in the winter because for me it’s about the same.

And while I don’t enjoy edits…I have devised an editing routine that I’d like to share.  This is what I do during my ‘final before submissions’ edits (after I’ve made critique partner changers & filled in any plot holes I’ve realized, etc.)

First, I print the manuscript (I’ve tried to do it vie word & it can be done but I find paper works best for ME) in a landscape, 2 column format. Like a page from a book.  I like this format because it offers nice margins to make notes.

Second, I gather my colored pens. I use red for grammar/typos/left out words, etc. I use green to underline key plot events. Ie for my suspense these are the hints to the ‘creep’ or hints to why my heroine won’t commit to the hero. I use pink for character descriptions. I use purple for ‘promo’ – blurbs, Sunday Six, facebook teasers, etc.

What color is my hero eyes????

What color is my hero eyes????

Once I’ve marked the manuscript up, I’m ready to make the changes electrically. Now I know some writers use excel for their notes making a tab per character and one for settings. I like to use Microsoft Onenote.  I make a tab for EACH character, plot, and promo.

As I come to a ‘green’ marked passages I copy it and past it onto the plot sheet, the promo blurbs and ideas are copy and pasted on the promo sheet. Etc.

Once I’m done with the grammar/typos correction, I review my character notes.  I make sure every time I’ve mentioned a character’s eyes they are always the same color 🙂 Their middle name is the same. Stuff like that. Then if I notice my character went from blue eyes to brown eyes I make the corrections unless the change is due to color contacts 😛

When reviewing the plot notes I make sure I haven’t ‘dropped’ a thread and all my ‘clues’ line up.

The bedroom is down the hallway but now next the kitchen....

The bedroom is down the hallway but now next the kitchen….

The thing I find the most useful is the promo page. This has food mentioned that I can use for my Tasty Thursday blog, scenes, and other ‘promo’ ideas (like the heroine relaxing in a warm bath filled with scented salts – great blog hop giveaway). Once I’ve used a scene/blurb I note where and when.  This has been a proverbial life saver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scanned my earlier books looking for a certain scene.

So those are my ‘final edits before submission’ tricks. Do you have any to share?  I’d love to hear them – especially if it includes someway to get a editing elf to come to my house.


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