Friday, September 17, 2010

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.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ugh, I removed the second comment because it was a double post! LOL

  3. 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.

  4. LOL! I hate when I do that.

    I plan on finishing tonight, shouldn't take too then I can relax!

  5. 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!

  6. YAY for productivity! I'm glad someone has bonded with MS 2010 ...

  7. 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!