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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Editing Shorthand

It's been a long, long time since I did proper paper edits on a novel draft. I mean, I've done bits and pieces, odd chapters, but it's a long time since I held a full draft in my hands then attacked it mercilessly with a pen. True, my rewrites on 'Danni' have leapfrogged finishing the first draft of 'Kathy' (as planned here) but there's a good reason for that. Finishing the first draft of 'Izzy', jumping straight into NaNo and then going back to trying to complete a third first draft in a row felt...well, ludicrous, even for me. So I picked up the edits and spent a solid six hours highlighting what needs to be changed and weighing up every sentence. As I went, I found myself coming up with my own little editing shorthand that I felt like sharing. Some of it's standard, some of it's a little peculiar...

  • Check - Means what it says, for the most part. I'm not completely happy with the sentence as it reads so I need to look into it further and see if I can change it. 
  • Rephrase - I know that the sentence definitely isn't right and needs a complete overhaul.
  • (?) - My word choice isn't right in a portion of the sentence, think it over and consult a thesaurus. 
  • Foreshadow - Exactly what it says. Perfect moment for foreshadowing something that happens later.
  • Check E/T - Nope, this doesn't mean consult the resident alien. It means consult The Emotion Thesaurus, an excellent writing guide I discussed in more detail in this post, 'I Said Love - Or Did I?'
  • M/C - Stands for 'more common'. I apparently have a habit of making my antagonists far too posh. In this case, it really doesn't work so I'm peppering his dialogue with these notes to remind me to rough up his language a bit.
  • Tag - Sentence isn't reading well, may need to rearrange the character tagging or add a tag in.
  • Extend - More of it, I want more of it.
  • Clunky - Well, it's...clunky.
  • (P) - Punctuation change. 

I'm assuming most of that is normal. I'm also assuming it's a list that'll continue to get longer. I have to say, though, losing myself in these edits is proving rather delightful. The only difficulty is, once I've made notes on what edits I want to make, I have to go back to PhD work for a week. Who knows when I'll be able to actually implement the edits?

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