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.