Let’s Consider Editing, For a Moment. Also Bonus Proof Copy Pictures

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As mentioned previously the second edit of Oranje is now with my editor and awaiting their next round of changes. However this doesn’t mean I’ve been idle on the editing front.

When I got the first edit back from them they attached documents with their overall thoughts, and another with a list of repeated words. This was fascinating to read, as a writer I’m obviously falling back on the same words and phrases again and again as I get through the book. Editing is a change to deal with that, to add more variety or reword sentences to prevent a lot of repetition.

With the second edit being, well I hope it is, the last big story edits, I thought I’d take a look at those numbers again. I used SmartEdit for this, which is a very useful piece of software. It analyses a piece of text, and then gives you a list of the most repeated words, phrases, adverbs, and also how many time you use certain cliché phrases.

I’m just going to focus on the phrases for now, as I think they give a good idea of what I’m doing overall, and it’s fascinating to see which ones repeat.

  • For a moment – I’ve used that one 92 times. 92! Here’s an example: ‘He was bent low staring at the screen before he bowed his head for a moment and looked despairingly at Dragan’. I can easily eliminate ‘for a moment’ from that sentence and have none of the meaning change. A quick glance shows that to be true of most of the cases where I’ve used it.
  • A lot of – This a lot of ‘a lot of’, these can’t be removed but I can definitely vary this more. Replace some with ‘most of’, or ‘quite a few’, ‘plenty’, or reword sentences in some cases.
  • Shook his/her head – My characters are shaking their heads so much one of them is bound to fall off sooner or later. This seems to be my go-to for displaying certain kinds of emotion, I’ll need to replace lots of these with other types of body language or action to communicate how characters are feeling.

These are just three examples of phrases I’ve used a lot so far (see, there’s ‘a lot of’ again!), but I’m not worried about it. This what the editing process is all about, ironing out the creaky/repetitive bits of the book, sorting out the grammar and sentence structures, improving the text.

I’m looking at this now, before I’ve had the third edit back, as it enables me to come up with a plan of how to deal with them. Once I get it back, I can work my way through the text eliminating/replacing/rewording them, and make the book better as a result.

The end is in sight, I can’t wait to release Oranje to the world.

On a related note, the latest proof copy of the book arrived today. I’ve been doing this at regular stages throughout the writing process as it’s enabled me to learn about how to properly format a book for print, as I’m doing all of that myself, and to try out different fonts etc.

This time I did a print, done via CreateSpace, as I want to see the awesome new cover in the flesh, and here it is:

front_far front spine back

I’m sure you’ll agree it looks amazing.

Oh it’s so exciting!!!!!