Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Short Cuts Aren't



A Mean Rotten Reality Check from your resident Tart.

So some of you may know I had line revisions from my editor... She made some complimentary statements.... great job with character and story... she had some bigger points she wanted me to consider (three of them) that would mean some rewriting, and then edits and comments within the text. Easy enough, ne?

I conquered the edits and comments first... nice to feel like I'm getting somewhere... (a fine strategy).

NONE SHALL PASS
Then I found the big places where the changes would matter and marked the 'where' and wrote them in... then I printed the thing because my brain only works at half-mast when it is back-lighted... or something... and I read the thing through for consistency (because of the changes, right?). *pats self on head*  I fixed a couple timing SNAFUs because editing makes this writing thing CIRCULAR so sometimes you write something in that is a response to something that hasn't happened yet. (surely I am not the only one this happens to)...

Then I get out the email to double check I've covered it... and I see it... “...any sentences that can be slimmed down, and focused on the parts that relate directly to the plot and character development.”

DOH! (see comment about brain half mast with back-lighting)  Slimmed? You KNOW slimming is NOT my strong point! I am an ample, huggable Tart! And sad to say, you are what you write... erm... they say that, right? Whatever the case, I was only 2 days from my self-suggested deadline and I had a BOOK TO SLIM!!! GAH!

So I started plugging away... and Thursday I got through maybe 75 pages (good progress--4 days to done)... and then Friday it POURED so my commuting portion of my editing day got sucked into oblivion (which throws off everything—that is my best time..). and then I did some more on Saturday and got a brainstorm...


Sometimes the long way is the short way...
All those blogs I read... all those tricks...

Temptation dangled so... danglingly... *shifty*


So I did a 'find' for 'ing'--lets lose the passive language!


This is where the Voodoo music starts. (hear it?)

Let me tell you... 'ing' does indeed play a part in some passive text... and I used a little, though MOSTLY when I used it (meaning 'ing' not 'it), it was a second part to a sentence and was providing setting or outcome, and the MAIN part of the sentence had a verb that had PLENTY of cajones ALREADY!

The real problem though, was that I had to carefully read a paragraph every time to orient and decide... this was NOT a time saver.

I try to limit politics, but this was too amusing to pass up
The search for 'that' was better... sure, some of them needed to be there (most of them, even) but it was quick to tell which KIND of 'that' it was and remove the offenders...

But then there was 'just', 'very', 'a little', 'seemed'... No, time to rethink...

After that (<--necessary that) I determined it really IS better to just go through it all... this short cut business was NOT shorter. If I read it ONCE in ORDER I catch ALL the variety of wordiness (plus those full sentences and paragraphs that need dropping)... if I do it piecemeal, I have to go through the bloody thing a dozen times and will still miss some. So that is where I am on the matter... The short cut wasn't. (short, I mean)


So sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The fact of the matter is, you just gotta do the work... If you take short cuts, you are going to do it several times...

33 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

What? Nobody told me writing would be work!

You'll get there, and it will be worth all the extra work to have it right.

Stacy Gail said...

Oh. My. God. I always knew we were twins, but this just proves it. "That", "just", and passive phrasing were the biggies my two editors zinged me with (I think I'm still bruised, but the worst of the pain has passed :P). Ah well, live and learn, right? After this, you'll be a veteran at editing, so no worries, Tart!

Ted Cross said...

I remember this well. I had a whole card full of such words, and I went through my text with Find over and over again with each one to see where I could cut them out or improve the prose. Now that I'm writing the next book, I am trying my best not to put such words into it in the first place.

KatieO said...

Sounds like you had fun with your edits ;-) But with all that work the next round will be a piece of cake ;-)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good point! Reading through from start to finish and we can look for all the words at once.

Both ways take a long time, for sure...

Christine Murray said...

'you just gotta do the work'

Surely you mean, 'you just gotta lie on a chaise longue and wait for The Muse to come along and do the work'

Right? Right?!?!

Lisa said...

This is a keeper. I'm printing this for my Wall of Instruction. How many times has the shortcut made me late on my way to something important? Enough times.

Niki said...

You'll get there :) and it will be brilliant.

Hart Johnson said...

Charmaine-I know, right?! We should just get to sit around being creatively!

Stace *snort* Yes... PAIN! And not the good kind!

Ted-if I self-edit as I go, I get stopped up, but it DOES improve a little each round...

Katie-fun is one word *dies* but I'm all for cake!

Elizabeth-yes, lesson learned! That lesson and the one about PRINTING the darned email and highlighting from the start!

Christine, oi! Where IS that chaise lounge in my life?!

Lisa-yeah, I'll probably forget it if I don't post it somewhere--it is so tempting!

Niki, thank you!!!

M.J. Nicholls said...

Indeed! Sage advice, as always. Same policy can apply to re-writes, shilly-shallying around the inevitable complete overhaul of the whole mother. I hate 'just' because I have a complex for sticky-outy letters. It's all about the neatness with me.

Old Kitty said...

Meticulous and thorough work done nakedly is indeed the best route! :-) Take care
x

Terry Odell said...

Ah, yes, the editing. I'm waiting on edits from a new editor, and dreading the possibility that she (or he--don't know yet)will be the one who says, "Fix all this crap."

I work the same way -- deal with suggested minor changes like punctuation or wording, then tackle the comments, and then the dreaded rewriting stuff. But I try to have all those crutch words out before I send the ms in. Operative word being 'try'.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

I do the shortcut first. So i do my searches for "back" and "That" etc. Then i run a wordle cloud and search for the other stupid words.
Then i read backwards. That seems to be the best way for me to analyze each sentenc on its own

Deb and Barbara said...

so so so so so true. I notice this every time. Then stuff gets missed and it's also kinda sloppy. It has to be a finetooth comb. And it has to comb from forehead to nape.
B

Michael Offutt said...

Sounds like your editor really cares though. That's a great trait to have when publishing a book.

Johanna Garth said...

I do adverb searches. I LOVE me some adverbs and can use them frequently, shockingly and creatively.

Good luck with the rest of the edit-hopeful(ly) it's not too painful!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Searching for overused words - that sounds familiar. And if we are what we write, then I should be a heck of a lot thinner.

Hart Johnson said...

*giggles* Mark, you maybe should have been a girl if you don't like those extraneous parts...

Jenny-thank you! Naked ALWAYS is best!

Terry-I bet there are some growing pains with an editor change...

Sarah, I think you have more patience than I do...

Barbara--that is the BIGGIE--the missed stuff.

Michael, she's pretty great--I like her a lot, which leads me to want to do my best first, so it works all around...

Johanna-I have sut back on adverbs SOME, but I still put in those qualifiers... seemed, appeared--I am timid when I make assertions at to what OTHER characters are doing, since I am not omniscient...

Hart Johnson said...

Alex--teehee--if only it were so easy... writing it the way we wish it was to make it so...

Hart Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.J. Fifield said...

I'm totally with Christine Murray. Only insert 'hammock' in place of chaise lounge.

Love the pics in your post today.

Holly Ruggiero said...

What? Bubble burster...

Chris Phillips said...

love the obama meme.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm no good with short cuts. In fact, I'm really kind of the king of long cuts. But I usually make it easier for anyone coming after me by figurong out how not to do it.
heh

Jo Schaffer said...

Amen, sistah! (=

And edits can be a b*!@$.

(= Thanks for keeping it REAL.

Cold As Heaven said...

Se what you mean. I tend to overuse "that" and "very"

Cold As Heaven

jabblog said...

Oh dear! I'd better start again . . . (I already had . . . )

vbtremper said...

I just finished your ABNA excerpt today at the gym and loved it! Would definitely read more. Good luck!

-Vicki

DCAllen said...

Ah, the horrors of snipping "that" and "very" and "seemed" and "just". I know the feeling. It's scary. And they should go...most of the time.

N4M3L3SS said...

idk what to say other than i learned a lot right now and damn ur smart

LTM said...

okay, so I'm reading along, and yes. You're right, don't take shortcuts, it's hard for the Tart to slim things... and I'm totally DISTRACTED by your graphics... LOL!!! Obama... and *snort* bad gnus.... :D

good stuff. OH! And good luck w/the editing. You know I know you're a superstar, right? <3

Boonie S said...

“you just gotta do the work...”: That’s always been my worst fear….

All the best, Boonie

Escape Artist said...

I'm going home after work and doing a few 'finds'.
Great post. New to your site
and very glad I popped by so thanks for having me!!