Here’s author Daryl Devore with some self editing tips we can all use…
You’ve written a book – a chapter – a scene – congratulations. Now let’s do a little clean up.
First off – don’t be hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. And quite often they are silly little mistakes. So allow yourself to make them. Smile at them then fix them.
Silly little mistake – I sea the cat. It’is super easy in the rush of typing to misspell even the simplest of words. In one of my books, when my editor went through the first time, I’d misspelled my hero’s name. I’m the author – you’d think I’d at least know how to spell the hero’s name!
His name – Darien
My misspelling – Dairen
And once I called him Damien.
I’m going to offer up my favourite 2 tricks that I use to try and catch the little mistakes (although, blushingly, I’ll admit, I blew it on the hero’s name.)
#1 – Over used words – Go to words.
Do you know if you have a favourite word? I had a university prof whom we nicknamed Basic Bob, because basically, Basic Bob could basically put the basic word basic in any basic spot that he basically wanted to.
My go to word seems to change with each book. After I broke my habit of using just the word headed stepped to the forefront. It seemed every character headed somewhere. And don’t ask about the word then – argh!
Over the years I have collected a list of hundreds of suggested go to words. I’m not going to list them. It isn’t important what those over-used words are. What is important is – do you use them A LOT in your story?
Carefully review a chapter and watch for repeated words – just, that, like, then (as examples) – and then do a word search on the word and see how often it appears. Highlight it in your document then you have a visual of how often it is on a page. I’m not going to give a number – like saying – 5 times on a page is bad. It depends on the story. You judge. It’s your book.
# 2 – The second trick –change the visual. Your eyes get very used to black letters in a certain font and a specific size on a white background. Change it up. But – Super Important – make sure you have saved a master copy of whatever chapter you are going to try this on. Then make a second document to use. Example – Book Title_Chapter 1_Master copy. That one is stored and the one I’ll play with is – Book Title_Chapter 1_Edit copy. This way if somehow I screw it up, I can just delete it and go back to the master copy.
I use Verdana. When I am doing this change the visual edit, I will scroll through the fonts and pick something I rarely use – Engravers MT.
My font size is generally 12 pt. I’ll make it 28 pt.
The lettering on my screen is black. I’ll even change that to a blue or green.
Lastly, in view, I’ll change it from 100% to 200%.
This way the normal look of my document is completely changed and I can focus on the words rather than on the story.
Still, I don’t catch everything, but the number of typos and overused words is greatly reduced.
About the Author
Two writers in one. Daryl Devoré writes hot romances with sexy heroes and strong heroines. Victoria Adams is Daryl Devoré’s alter ego when she’s inspired to write sweet romances with little to no heat.
Daryl (@daryldevore) lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks on her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth, and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter, and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.
Two Truths and a Lie – From the Lawbreakers Box set
The legend of Robin Hood and Maid Marian with a twenty-first-century twist
Twitter – http://twitter.com/daryldevore