Monday, September 7, 2015

Pulling Some Weeds

Couldn't Have Said it Better, Snoop
 Here I am back at the edits on my novel. I'm on page 111 of my 185-page manuscript, and I've taken care of a lot of the picky things--obvious misspellings (although spell-check (or spellcheck or spell check or Spell Check, but never Spell Czech) and I disagree sometimes, which is subject matter for a future post), punctuation absent or too frequent (have I mentioned that I toss commas around as though I was Johnny Commaseed?), and tenses. Now I'm rootin' around amongst the words, sounding out sentences, swapping one word for another. Here's an example, live fire:

He could feel a strange pulling, a tingling sensation, and he turned sharply away from the consuming blackness. They flew swiftly away, struggling to stay aloft with their loads.

"I couldn't save them all," he said. "I couldn't carry all of them. There were just too many," his voice caught in his throat.

No misspellings, at least none that are obvious. Careful of relying too much on any spell-thingies. You can have a word in your sentence that doesn't belong. For example, I used 'away' twice in the first sentence of the two above. If I'd spelled it aweigh (for who knows what reason), the spell-doodad would just go merrily along and say, "Looks fine to me." So, don't rely on spell-things alone. Use your eyeballs and your noggin.

I could tighten the first sentence a little, like this, perhaps:

He felt a pulling, tingling sensation as he turned sharply away from the consuming blackness. Flying swiftly away, they struggled to stay aloft.

A little better, but still needs work. Got rid of the "...with their loads" part as I'd established earlier they were carrying a lot.

For the next part, let's go with:

"I couldn't save them all," he said. "There were just too many," his voice caught in his throat.

Better. Next, I may try to get rid of the cliche, "...his voice caught in his throat." Swallowed his words, tripped over his words, word-stumbled? Have to work on that one, but you see what I mean.

This is the part of editing where you need to have some distance from your story. Got to let it simmer for a bit. But it's fun, too, because every change makes it tighter, punchier, and gets your story closer to release.

Keep writing, friends.

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