Before I send my manuscript to the editors, I’m doing my best to clean up my draft copy.
For those of you beginning this process, here are a few tips:
- Print out a hard copy – It’s easier to spot errors, holes.
- Make notes for obvious holes in the story, and correct grammar/punctuation, redundancies, and repetition.
- Turn off autocorrect to avoid missing homonyms ( words with the same spelling but different meaning/ wrong word for the sentence, e.g., pole, pole. Or, the homophones ( words with the same pronunciation but different meanings, or spelling (e.g., to, two, too.
- Eliminate weasel words: and/ or weasel words (“to be” verbs: is, are, was, were, had, had been).
- Use your search tool to seek out:
- Misused Words: e.g.,. Who vs. that; few vs. less, which vs. that, in vs. into, etc.
- Words to avoid: (can usually cut without losing a thing from the sentence), e.g., that, then, about, almost, begin, very, really, somewhat, up, down, over, around, only, just, even.
- Telling Words: e.g., seemed, knew, thought, felt, wondered, mused, because, suddenly, realized, prayed, considered, hope.
- Rethink these words – Are they necessary? Is it showing? Or, can you rewrite the sentence to make it stronger? e.g., as, while, since, although, though, though, because, when, before, until.
- Repetition – Lord have mercy! I had no idea how often I used certain words. e.g., look/looked, maybe, watch, or good.
It isn’t advisable to do extensive rewrites before sending to an editor, but it’s recommended you send the cleanest copy you can. First up for me is a developmental editor. If you have recommendations for one in women’s fiction, I love the connection. In the meantime, here are a few other resources to help with those first draft run through.
Laying it on the Lie: Commonly Misused Words
Mental Signposts That Tell, Not Show
It’s an Improvement: Five Ways to Kick Your Writing up a Notch
Ways to Say Printouts and Posters
200 Common Redundancies
Do have other tips or resources? Share them with the fence jumpers. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Twitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.