Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Reprise Series #9: Not Quite Random Thoughts on Revising What You’ve Written

Summer Reprise Series #9: Not Quite Random Thoughts on Revising What You’ve Written
First published August 25, 2015

I have been writing a long time, certainly since 1st-grade in 1956. I consider myself to be a good writer. Three publishers agree with that assessment enough to publish books I authored or co-authored. Two of those asked if my manuscripts had been professionally edited before I submitted them.

I was in a quandary. What answer were they looking for?
I answered truthfully, “no.”
They seemed to be impressed.
I took their response to mean I’d done all the editing I need to do.

WRONG!

I recently pulled two of my CreateSpace books down while I re-edited. I found HUNDREDS of typos, etc… in each. I was embarrassed. And, I vowed it will not happen again.

Since that humbling experience, I have been much more conscientious with what I think is finally edited. Recently, I have included one of my good friends who enjoys “finding glitches” when she reads in my acknowledgements. She now reads all my manuscripts before I do my final edit.

Just last week, Laura Vavz, an outstanding blogger who did a review for The Observers, posted a blog: 5-Writing Apps I can’t live without. I read the article. I downloaded one of the Apps she recommended: Hemingway.

I tried it immediately. I will use it on all my manuscripts before considering them finally edited.

This software does NOT edit for you. It does provide color-coded segments of your text with issues: passive voice, adverbs, difficult reading, very hard to read. It also provides a Grade Level approximation for your text.

The spelling checker works better in "Write" mode than in "Edit" mode. When you edit in the APP, then copy/paste back to your manuscript, you have to reformat the text because it’s HTML. While each of those characteristics are a bit of a bummer, the benefits far outweigh the negatives in this APP.



The screen shot here is of the first half of a novella I'm working on. The file uploaded for this screen shot is 10,000 words long.

I also use the free version of Grammarly with regularity. It works from your browser. It also has a download version. It catches things I often miss. Here's a screenshot of my grammarly use. 

Each icon is a specific piece of text that was run through Grammarly. Red numbers indicate the number of issues I've chosen to ignore..

What using these two programs has done for me is to SLOW ME DOWN. I have evidence of manuscript issues that are clearly marked. Not changing them—or at least considering changing them—is very bad authorship on my part.

I have learned since the first posting of this blog that I can’t blindly make all the changes marked by Hemmingway. I want some of those “issues” because they are in dialog, or I just prefer what I’ve written to their option.

I am a finisher. While that trait has served me well in life, it’s not the best trait for an author. Editor is the trait I’m now striving for. Followed of course, by finisher.

The last Summer Reprise is next week. It, too, focuses on editing.

Next blog: Story Telling VS. Writing A Story

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor


My website is: www.crdowning.com

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