Monday, January 14, 2013

Editing, Editing, and More Editing

Yeah, I'm in that stage of the whole writing process. I've read through my book (as a whole) several times. I've made every change I can think of at this stage of the game. I fixed typos, took care of inconsistencies, etc. The little things.

Now it's with my critique partners, two of whom have already finished reading. Their feedback so far has me all manner of excited. And all manner of ready for the next big round of revisions. Because I'm pretty good at taking care of the little things by myself, though I'm always willing to accept any help or suggestions on that front. Big picture stuff, on the other hand? Well, if I thought my pace was lagging or a character didn't have enough depth, etc., I wouldn't have written things the way I had. I think it's one of those things where I'm just too close to the project (it is, after all, my baby) to see it clearly. And I've already gotten a lot of big picture feedback from one CP that was incredibly helpful.

At this point, I'm holding off on revisions until I hear from the other two. I want to go through all of the notes and comments that I get, make a game plan, and then kick the crap out of my revisions. That's the way I like to work. 

So what am I doing in the meantime? Well, I (kind of) started plotting a new book. I say kind of because I only have two pages of notes, but I think this one will be fun to write. I need to do quite a lot of plotting, world building, and character development before I get to that point, though. I'm also still working on the little things. For example, one thing I'm notoriously bad with is using crutch words. Using them without any clue that I'm doing it. In fact, I had no idea whatsoever until I made a word cloud of Diamond Tears.

Mercutio and Robin make sense, because they are two of the three main characters. (The third is Emma, who is on there, but very small, as she is the 1st person narrator. So it makes sense that her name wouldn't come up outside of occasional dialogue.) But just? Just is one of the two most common words in the book? And then back? Really? After I made this word cloud, one of my CPs read the book and pointed out that just was a crutch word, used to distraction.

So when I sat down to write Luminary, it was with this knowledge in mind. I would use just sparingly. All would be well. Imagine my surprise when I made a word cloud of the first twelve chapters, and just was the largest word. Seriously guys. I have no idea I'm doing it. So I made sure I was extra careful through the rest of the draft. Here's the word cloud I made after I finished that first draft:

Just doesn't look too bad, does it? (Look a little over halfway up, on the far left.) But it was still way too big. And look at back! The biggest word on there! I went into my Word doc and made good use of Find to, as my CP Delia said, search and destroy. Here's where the draft is right now:

I know you can't tell because some of those words are pretty small, but just isn't even on there! Hurray! Back is still pretty big, but it's getting smaller. Maybe another few rounds of editing will get it down to one of the tiniest words. Or off the word cloud altogether. At least I know what I have to do. 

If you're a writer, do you have any helpful tools like this to help with your editing? Do you do a lot of self editing, or do you rely on others (critique partners, freelance editors, etc.)? I'd love to hear about your process!

**Someone on Twitter asked me how I make these word clouds, so I figured I should share. I use Wordle.**


  1. This is brilliant. We all have writing ticks. What a great tool!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'd never even heard of word clouds until another writer posted one on her blog. They've been invaluable ever since. :)

  2. So, um, yeah. I'm the CP with the atrocious lag time. *waves*

    But I am SO PROUD OF YOU for doing the seek and destroy!!! Great job. And I promise I'll be elbow deep in Luminary soon. (eww)

    1. Umm...didn't I just send this to you, like, two weeks ago? How is that atrocious lag time, I ask you?