As I stated yesterday, I was nearing the end of inputting changes with Law of the Beast. I mentioned part of my editing process and that I was going to be searching out words in particular that I wanted to go over before sending it off. In this case, I’m actually going over a search for the ing words. That’s where I’m at today, what I’ll be working on.
If you use Word and want to know how I search that out, it’s using the advanced search feature. I enable wild cards. And then in the search bar, I put was*(ing)> as the term. That exact thing, written as is, all in bold. Now, if you want to try that, go for it, but note that it will show EVERY instance of that. Even if the was and the ing word have a sentence between the was and ing. It will highlight the whole series of sentences. BUT, it also brings attention to any “she was walking,” instances (basic example there) that you may have put into the document just so that you can have your attention drawn in and go . . . do I want that to be “she was walking,” or do I want that to be” she walked”?
Again, yes that is a basic example. I’m being general like that so it’s easier to take in. This isn’t a thorough editing lesson on grammar and how best to say sentences.
I’ll copy and paste one of the long examples here from my document, on what sort of thing will get highlighted, and then one of the ones I’ll really pay attention to.
Default that may get highlighted:
was that supposed to mean? Who was he?
Verrick hit the door at the same time she did, pitchers of beer in his hands. He pushed open the door with a boot and followed her back to the pool table. “What was that?”
She waved him off. “Nothing.
Notice all that? That was everything highlighted in the document because of that search. You can see the capitalized words and the bold words. Those are inside the correct search terms though. It’s something that’s inside was + ing.
Now, as we can tell, I don’t need to figure out a whole paragraph worth of information. That’s a waste of my time to focus on. Skip and move on. Next click. I keep telling it next until it highlights what I actually want to check.
As in this next highlighted text shows.
was the point of meeting
Okay so this isn’t just two words, but I guess there was no other instances in my document, just the couple that I caught already. Yay me. lol It’s not that all instances of was and ing combined are bad as in that example “she was walking,” it’s just that I want to SEE them to check them completely on their own, separate, so my focus zeroes in on them. Make sense?
However, to that example above, you’ll see again the was and ing word. In this instance, I am actually going to change that entire sentence to reword it. I will show you since I have no more to check according to the document.
My entire sentence was this – What was the point of meeting up here if [removed to prevent spoiling of story] and Verrick didn’t even talk.
I changed it to this – Why would [removed to prevent spoiling of story] and Verrick meet if they didn’t even talk?
Most may argue against the would in that sentence but it goes with the context, so no need to argue against it, lol. Just note how changing the was and ing did change the sentence. hence why I do a search for it. I’m getting better now at writing so I don’t resort to those, but I do still use them in my writing because of experience. Completely eliminating certain words because of a grammar rule is great if you want to get grades based on perfect grammar, but remember as a story writer – we learn the rules to break the rules. Not just break them, but for each we learn which to break for our own style and how to.
A great story is like a great song. There is a rhythm to each sentence, there is a flow. If it’s perfect grammar, we may actually lose our voice. Our unique tone, style, spirit to the pace and story. That is what the reader wants, not a grammar book.
So now I go back to Law of the Beast and back to my searches. The particular words I look for right now to get them out of the way are (gonna copy and paste from my document I use):
Had/that – too many? (check for “like that/that was/that were/it was” if can remove) Fix style blunders. Find and Replace most that (check “that meant” for redundancy/clarity/power), now (especially right now and just now) and then words.
Again, this is my method. Many might argue, or need to search out other words. Those just happen to be SOME of what I search for. Because the list I have brings my attention to the MOST common issues that most of us have, more so moi, and make me really go specifically to that sentence.
I’ve read some individuals who will highlight all of it (the specific words they have issues with, or are common issues), different colors and such, with macros that they make. To that point. I have used them, I am familiar with them. But what I found for myself is that my focus was RIGHT back to the whole of the document and story, NOT on that individual sentence and how I want it read, where I want the reader to focus, how I want them to feel. All of that.
So for me personally? It just doesn’t work. I need specific focus points. I need organization. I need “this is what to look for.” Not this mass of stuff thrown at me where my brain is told – fix this, look at all you did wrong! Then overwhelm comes and editing becomes a pain in the butt. This method I use makes it almost fun. It’s like a little Easter egg hunt, lol.
That’s probably why I like it so much. It becomes a hunt. A mystery.
Today’s numbers for Scorched Silence.
Words at last post – 73,523 words
Current word count as of today – 79,238 words
Total words written since last post – 5,715
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