Wonder Wednesday: Extreme Editing


Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

Prescheduling this one as I think I might be incapable of much on Wednesday.

The day before I submitted my manuscript to the Half the World competition, I signed up for Grammarly Premium. Grammarly found nearly 2000 issues. This was bad, yet good. Bad because time was so short and good because there was time to fix things before sending it out.

It was submitted on the morning of Tuesday, June 7th.

What I learned:

  1. I had messy battle scenes that I was convinced I needed to print out in order to cut up and move the pieces around. Well, my printer was out of ink. I was about to head out and buy a better printer¬†because I actually hate inkjets. Then I said, “Don’t be stupid. All you need are your brain and fingers.” I hunkered down and it was way easier than I thought. I’m still going to replace my printer with a laser printer but it’s not pressing.
  2. I used to have excellent grammar skills. I used to tutor others. Somewhere along the way, I forgot proper comma usage. Indeed, nearly half of the 2000 errors were related to commas.
  3. I like the word though quite a lot.
  4. It seemed my manuscript had a lot of repetitive words but they were all located near each other. Like my brain locked onto a word for the day or week and it was going anywhere it could.
  5. Editing both battle scenes on the same day helped me fix both of them even though they were very different from each other.
  6. Somehow I can function on very little sleep without caffeine. I have had about 3 hours of sleep. I edited for the bulk of one day before going to sleep then the novel beckoned me to wake at 2AM after closing my eyes at 11:30PM. I continued to edit for about 2 hours. Then I tried to sleep but I doubt I fell asleep. I rose with the alarm and continued to edit. Then I submitted and hastily showered before going to work. I am now wondering if I am really human.
  7. I learned how to write a synopsis while driving in my car. “Oh god! I have to write a synopsis. I hate those things! Whatever shall I put in it?” I asked myself. “Just run through the story, include the main plot points and the ending.” My brain is wonderful sometimes. Other times I wonder how I managed to put my laceless shoes on my feet.
  8. I write rather lazily because I know there’s no point in making it perfect before I’m sure I have the right words. I get the idea down and it might be in simple language. “Josy was hungry. Josy ate food.” Later that may turn into, “The hunger pangs disrupted Josy’s ability to concentrate. She retrieved a yogurt from her little fridge and mixed it with some granola.”
  9. I’m neither a pantser nor a plotter. I’m a weird hybrid.
  10. My book is currently as good as I can make it on my own. After the contest is done, I’ll search out an agent and try to get it published. The winners are supposed to be announced about a month from now.
  11. I’d like to try a relaxed writing pace of about 350-500 words a day or about 1 page. After 1 year of that, there is a complete manuscript.
  12. Don’t bother with the free version of Grammarly for MS Word. What happened? I used it first and it created more advanced problems. If you just use the premium one, you avoid that issue. Sign up for a month then cancel before renewal.
  13. Work on my grammar, writing skills, and vocabulary. These will make editing less painful. Especially learn to use the damn comma properly.
  14. Grammarly premium gave me pretty good editing advice. I got shown my issues one at a time, almost like find and replace. It was slow at times, though. There were some suggestions I ignored as they were just wrong for my fantasy novel. For example, it would suggest plant should become building when I was literally talking about a green leafy thing. It suggested best word pairings. It informed me I was using the same words too often and I could work with one problem sentence at a time. It usually suggested words that were helpful or I would realize there was a problem, but I had a better idea of how to fix it. I often chose to rewrite a sentence and eliminate the issue entirely. I imagine this to be part of an editor’s job. Now, when I get a professional edit done, it can be focused on story rather than grammar and spelling.

I’m now on a writing break for at least a month. After that, I’ll probably work on the roller derby one unless the alien conspiracy takes hold of me first.

For now, I’m catching up on sleep amongst gardening, cleaning, guitar, and video games.

Ciao,
R~

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