Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Romantic Suspense, and Editing

Today I'm over at Just Romantic Suspense talking about the differences between mystery and suspense, especially in the romance genre. I'm giving away a copy of Finding Sarah to one commenter (and if you have already read the book, I'm happy to gift it to someone you choose should you win.)

click to enlarge (I hope)
I've been working on edits for my next Pine Hills Police story. I've mentioned it before, but for me, the best way to deal with this round of edits (the ones I do after I hit "the end" but before I send it off to the editor)

I print the entire document, because your eye will see things differently on paper. I change the font, again to fool the eye. To save paper, the first time I tried this, I printed the manuscript in 2 columns and found that added yet another piece of eye-trickery. You're not reading across long lines of print, and your eye will pick up even more since nothing is laid out the way it was on the screen. I also reduce the font size slightly—my intent is to read this like a book, and books have smaller type, so it's not something totally out of the realm of what I'm used to.

Then, as I read, I go through catching things that I've missed when I've re-read scenes during the writing process. The different layout makes new stuff jump off the page. I can catch flow errors, overused words, and places where I can't follow the dialogue. It's easy when you're writing it—you know who's speaking—but going back later, it might not be clear, and if it's not clear to me, then a reader will definitely have trouble.

I don't do revising on this draft. I make notes for simple changes. If I find something that needs a more in-depth look, I write it on a sticky note and put it on my idea board, since these are things that usually require a global search.

For example, one of my sticky notes for this manuscript (and I'm only halfway through) says "too many redheads with freckles?" which is something I can search for when I finish this run through the manuscript.

Another thing I'm looking for is a scene (or scenes) that aren't working. These I'll fix in revisions. Right now, I have "Scott locked up? Storage closet? If so, rework trap door discovery scene."

And if you know anyone interested in a workshop on Point of View, please point them to the link in my sidebar. As of Friday, I didn't have enough people signed up, and unless there's a minimum number, they'll cancel the workshop. Thanks!

Tomorrow, my guest is Shelly Bell, who's talking about learning all the "other stuff" that goes along with writing a book. Be sure you stop by.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I like the idea of using 2 columns for this read-through. Great idea!

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - it definitely "fools" the eye. The words line up differently, and it's not like looking at what you've been staring at for months.

Lee Strickler said...

Terry - the two columns is a fantastic idea. I will definitely be using this on my next edit.

christine warner said...

Like that idea Terry for printing out your story in 2 columns. Thanks for the tip...going to give it a try :)

Andrea L. Waters said...

I'm with them. Love the 2 column approach. I also will use it.

Vicki Batman said...

I've always done a printed review. It does truly make a difference. So does reading aloud. I have a writer friend who starts reading at the ending and reads the whole manuscript, chapter from back to front. And lastly, I use It counts words and I can see where I need to write fresher.

Terry Odell said...

Lee, Christine, Andrea - glad you think it'll be helpful.

Vicki - thanks for sharing your tips.

Karen C said...

Love learning an author's 'tricks'.

Rebecca Grace said...

I really like this idea. I'm just finishing up a round of re-write edits and I'm going to try it for my final, proof read round.
Thanks for the tip.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I've never thought about printing out two columns! Excellent idea!

Terry Odell said...

Karen - it's hardly a trick. Just one more tool in the shed.

Rebecca - you'll have to let us know if it helps you.

Jessica - I happened upon the method by accident, trying to save paper.

P.A.Brown said...

The column idea sounds great. Two things I do is convert my draft to mobi format and read it on my Kindle. It even has the ability to change font size and you can have it read to you while you follow along. You can also make notes which can easily be looked up later.

I've also put my manuscript up on Lulu and have a single copy sent to me which I can read through like a book, with my highlighter in my hand. It would make a good way for a beta reader to read and point out problem areas.

LKF said...

I really like the two column idea. I am almost to that point and this will really help me.

Terry Odell said...

PA - those are great suggestions. I've thought about putting my book onto my e-reader, but I don't think I'd be as critical a reader.

LKF - hope it helps.