Thursday, February 18, 2010

Search and Destroy

I hate editing.

There. I said it.

It's not a terribly difficult process, and it's one of the final steps towards being done with a project, but the tedium. Jesus. The tedium. My editing process goes like this:
  1. Read through the hard copy without making any marks or notations.
  2. Read through it again, this time noting everything from typos and unnecessary commas to major plot problems and character inconsistencies. I also keep a notebook handy and jot down and words/phrases that seem to be repeating too often.
  3. Go through the Word document and implement all the changes noted in step 2.
  4. Comb for repetitive words/phrases, cull as needed.
As I said, this isn't a difficult task, but it gets tedious. Especially step 4. By the time I've finished that for a particular project, I would rather gouge my eyeballs out with a dirty chopstick than use Word's "Search" function ever again.

I'm currently going through step 4 on Cover Me. Nothing quite like searching through 108,000 words eleventy billion times to make sure I haven't overused this or that word. And believe me, I've overused quite a few.

The top repeaters for Cover Me:
  1. That - 1,152
  2. But - 809
  3. Just - 625
  4. Hand - 486
  5. Could - 439
  6. Would - 284
  7. Should - 215
  8. Look - 386
  9. Again - 386
  10. Breath - 267
  11. Fuck - 266
It would appear that, with a single exception, my potty-mouthed characters are using the word "fuck" with every breath. Cute, boys. Cute.

I also have a tendency to fall back on certain gestures, actions, and facial expressions. With all that shrugging, shuddering, shivering, shifting, grinning, growling, winking, smirking, eye-rolling, teeth-gritting, jaw-clenching, breath-holding, lip-parting, and face-touching, my characters start looking like the romance novel equivalent of the Three Stooges. So, now I have to go through and still some of the tics and twitches. Well, except for the one character who is supposed to be twitchy. But everyone else needs to be less twitchy so his spastic ways are more pronounced.

An interesting side note relating to this particular edit: Never thought, while editing a romance novel, I'd have to go do a quick Google search to see if methadone is capitalized or not. (okay, so it's technically an erotic suspense novel...but still.)

Anyway, I'm still editing the snot out of it and will hopefully have it beta ready in a day or two. I'm itching to get back to work on The Opposite of You, but I'm holding off a little until I get the edits for The Next Move so I don't have to abruptly shift gears when those edits come through.

So, until then..."search and destroy" continues in earnest on Cover Me. Speaking of "search and destroy" did you know there's a recently released song by that title?

There is.

'Tis one of my favorite songs.

You'll never guess who sings it.

1 comment:

  1. I read through a printed copy, marking up as I go, shift all the changes into MS Word, read through, done. Can't understand writers who take months and several rewrites. Makes you wonder what a shitstorm their books must be to take that much work. Either that or they're fiddling needlessly.

    Also: Mmm, Shannon. <3<3<3