Sunday, December 20, 2009

Editing techniques

As promised, This is information I learned years ago to make your work the best it can be.
When I've written my first draft and I've had my critique partner read it giving her input, I print out a chapter at a time and go through the whole manuscript and highlight:
Blue- dialogue
Yellow-internal thoughts
Green - setting
Red- non-verbal emotion
Pink - visceral emotional effects
Orange - in margins- tension
Purple - in margins- sexual tension/romance building
Highlighting these ares lets you see if you need more or less, dialogue to either pick up the pacing or see if the dialogue is necessary. See if the setting overrules your story. This way you can see if the internals are solid and if you've used enough emotion or the right emotional tags. By keeping track of the sexual tension you know if you are upping the tension/building the romance.

Circle the first word of every sentence with red to make sure you're not starting the sentences the same.

Circle the the verbs with green to see if you can use a stronger word.

Circle the last word of every sentence with purple to look for ways to backload the sentence (this often leads to rewriting the sentence).

The circling helps you find the best words and strengthen the writing.

I usually work this a chapter at a time. When you've finished this process on a manuscript it should sparkle.


Helen Hardt said...

This sounds like Margie Lawson's EDITS system, which is very helpful, when I have the time to do it, LOL.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Helen, I discovered these at a conference but the workshop wasn't taught by Margie Lawson, I believe it was Laurie Brown. But it was so long ago, I'm not sure. I've just kept this list I jotted down and have used it more vigorously on older projects than the newer ones that as you say need to be done and out the door quicker than I have time to do this whole process to.

Lauri said...

I heard this at a workshop once too, but a shorter version. I haven't tried it, but think I might.

Happy Holidays!