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.
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 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.