Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Crutch-word slaying

I'm almost there with the first book of the trilogy... I'm in the middle of line edits and crutch-word slaying and then it will go off to a professional editor to find all the bits that still need fixing.

I was feeling especially pleased with myself just before I started on this, as I managed to create a macro in Word that would, with a couple of clicks, highlight all of my over-used words in the ms. I'm not saying I managed to create the macro the first time I tried (or even the second, third, fourth...) but I did eventually make it (and even made a 'How To' sheet to send out to a couple of writer friends so that they can create their own versions).

Crutch-words are words that an author relies on and uses far too often. I know what most of mine are (though maybe some new ones have crept in). If I spot them as I'm going through edits, I try and kill them off, but inevitably, hundreds of the little critters still make it through to the line-edits. What my macro does is to change all of the crutch-words (that I know of) into the same word but with yellow highlighter on it. I've then printed off the whole ms (and got umpteen paper-cuts as I've stacked the pages neatly) with the words highlighted.

Next up is going over every word of the ms and tightening it all up as much as I can. I used to hate this stage, but now I love it. It's a bit depressing how much yellow is currently on each page, but it's better to kill off those over-used words now, than leave them in.

It's a slow process. I can't do more than a short section in one sitting or I find my brain stops working on improving it all and just reads it. I'm using my 30 minute sand-timer and then getting up and stretching/having a walk/doing something else before going back to it. The print-out is 268 pages long and the only way I can tackle things like this (without going doolally) is to split it into small chunks.

I have to say, I'm so excited to have reached this stage with it!


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