A Very Productive Evening

I settled in last night with some wine and the laptop and got to work on finishing up my pre-edits of In The Devil’s Arms. I made excellent progress, about twenty pages left to go. On my personal PC, I use Microsoft Word 2010. I got the full MS Office package through a program at work, since we use their applications. Cost me $10 for the entire 2010 suite. The only problem now is my work laptop, which I use a lot at home too, doesn’t have the 2010 software. That did create one issue.

I know a lot of people don’t like the newer MS operating systems and software, but I really like it now that I’m used to it. One of the features I found very helpful was the new search function. It creates a list in a sidebar, and one of the new functions is a preview showing the instances of your search topic, along with the surrounding words. So I did a search for “was.” Too many to preview. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the total count. Normally the preview lets me look over several sections of text where the word appears, and I can formulate how to rework it and see how close the next instance was.

Anyway, on to the main point. I really need to work on my tendency to ramble. 🙂 Last night, I used the work laptop – my daughter had commandeered mine for her homework, and since I keep everything on removable media, I can work anywhere as long as I have a computer. After I put the little guy to bed, I perched in my kitchen with aforementioned wine and dug in. Nearly three hours later, when I had to stop because my eyes were starting to tear, I had only twenty or so pages left. I did a quick search for my targeted word again and was pleasantly surprised. Knocked out about 400 of them! Most of what I left in occurred in dialogue, or the scene just called for a particular phrase. And I will likely lose a bunch of those too when I go through it one last time. I don’t think I could ever be done finding a way to lose another one. Even to this day, when I look at The Taste of Magic, there are things I would change if I wrote it now.

One other thing I found – even with the focus on that one word, I made a lot of other changes as well. So many times the following sentences then seemed out of place and also needed reworking. Passive voice has been a big problem for me with this manuscript, more so than with any others, but I think I managed to take care of most of it, if not all. No doubt a few eluded me, after a while, I stop noticing those flaws so easily.

And since it’s Friday, tonight should be another productive night – I can stay up later! And, I still have some wine left.

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8 thoughts on “A Very Productive Evening

  1. Jeannie, what fun those kind of edits are. I'm getting ready to do an is/was edit on the first fifth of my the henge book. The only thing that keeps me sane is that the spell check tells me only 1 percent of the many sentences are passive. Once wrote a short that came up no passive sentences until the editor suggested changes that brought the total to 2 percent. Keep up the good work.

  2. Funny thing is, Janet, I've already done this a couple of times. Clearly my eyes are not working too well – if I didn't have the search function, I'd be in trouble! LOL!

    I'm actually afraid to run this through the grammar checker program. Don't want to know!

  3. Hmm, I have a TERRIBLE confession to make. I never do a grammar check. I feel like I have missed out on something huge, especially with my passive voice problem. Thanks for the tips – and cheers to edits!

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