Author Topic: how to Edit your novel  (Read 5876 times)

Offline S-wo

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2006, 05:17:40 PM »
I haven't finished with mine, but I can say whenever I'm writing in my book and think I might want to change it later I write it down where I keep all my notes so when I come back to start editing, I'll know what I want to change with the story.

Offline Symphony

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2006, 05:31:34 PM »
I went out and bought two new red pens today so when the great day arrives, I'm ready to edit.


Argh!!! A true victim of 'negative' teaching - the bane of today's society. Now dump those damned red pens which stink of nothing but 'wrong' and 'do it again' - and go buy yourself a bunch of blue and green pens and some highlighters, which say 'think about this' or 'I'm sure I could reword this bit' ...


And while I'm on that note ...

I'm sure all these computer programmes are fab but isn't it just such a great, great shame that we have so many wonderful writers with the most fantastical imaginations whose books and stories are being rewritten by computer programmes??? Argh, I say. Argh! If you don't like the weak verbs or repetition of the same words, etc. etc., then take it out because YOU don't like it, not because 'Compoo'ah says No' (think Little Britain!!!). Isn't that what that sketch is all about? We laugh - and yet here's half a thread on a writer's forum doing exactly that! I find that very demoralising.
What hope for the English language.

Symphony
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Offline eric

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2006, 05:45:29 PM »
I think Symphony is right on the mark.

Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2006, 12:07:44 AM »

I'm sure all these computer programmes are fab but isn't it just such a great, great shame that we have so many wonderful writers with the most fantastical imaginations whose books and stories are being rewritten by computer programmes??? Argh, I say. Argh! If you don't like the weak verbs or repetition of the same words, etc. etc., then take it out because YOU don't like it, not because 'Compoo'ah says No' (think Little Britain!!!).


Why do I get all the inspirational advice after I'm done with half the edit. Yep I took out a lot of repititions because MSWord told me to.
Totally agree with you Symphony.

Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2006, 12:15:37 AM »
Sorry I posted this earlier in Bob's thread but decided it looked better here.:

I am doing my edit on my first novel draft which is a literary piece. The word count is at 66,000. I thought I would increase it to around 70 to80K.
Now I feel I should make it tighter and it'll lread better at 50,000. Also make it easier for publishers to try their luck with me. What say you. Is that word count acceptable.

Offline orchid15

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2006, 03:35:40 PM »
I'm sure all these computer programmes are fab but isn't it just such a great, great shame that we have so many wonderful writers with the most fantastical imaginations whose books and stories are being rewritten by computer programmes??? Argh, I say. Argh! If you don't like the weak verbs or repetition of the same words, etc. etc., then take it out because YOU don't like it, not because 'Compoo'ah says No' (think Little Britain!!!).

Such an emotional response for such a little thing.  Although I love the program, I would never change a word just because the program highlights it.
but the program highlights the same words I hear publishers don't like, and many of the same ones I've heard professional authors say to avoid.  So I give it a second look and see if I can say that phrase better? can I tighten it up and give it some sparkle?

Maybe most of the people here are professional and understand weak verbs, but I never did until the program pointed them out to me and as I tried different ways to reword it, I suddenly 'heard' the difference.  It was the same with passive verbs.  It was only after the program pointed them out to me and I tried other ways of rephrasing that I discovered why editors care.

Like it or not, most of the time the program is right.  It doesn't suggest replacement words, it's up to me to rephrase it.  And I remember what an author once said-- use stronger verbs and more descriptive nouns.  Also, the program is a great teaching tool.  I find my first drafts are improving because I have such a better understanding of why those words aren't wanted.

Of course, I ignore a lot of things it tries to correct because I am using specific words for effect. This program is better suited for non-fiction editing, and dialoge and phrasing for effect will get highlighted sometimes.  We have to remember the program is just a tool to improve our craft.  I suggested the program as a way for beginners to learn to edit, not as the answer to every writer's problems.  I can see that after about six months to a year, I won't need the program anymore because I will have learned not to make those errors.

It is simply an easy way of having grammar errors pointed out.  I know some people pay others to do that, I prefer to use the program and persopnally decide on each change. at my convenience, instead of sending it out and getting the corrected manuscript back.

I do believe we need to know we are improving our manuscript, instead of just changing because the program (or a professional editor) says to.  that is why I read it aloud before and after each change, and only keep a change if it sounds better.

Not meant to inflame or get anyone's goat.  I just thought other beginners might like the same kind of help I got.  I kinda thought we were here to encourage what helps most people instead of bashing the tools others find handy and condemning those who use them.

orchid
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Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2006, 12:12:11 AM »
I think both Orchid and Symphony are correct.

In my zeal to follow the Programme instructions, I sometimes pull the trigger too fast and that is what both of you are warning against. I have nothing against computer programs and use them a lot at my job to simplify difficult processes. I guess the same applies to writing.
There has to be judicious use of the tool.
Last night I was reading a book by a first time novelist and she had crafted a beautiful sentence. The moment I  read it I knew my software would have screamed " Fragment; revision advised." That is what Symphony seems to be warning against.

Beautiful writing does break the rules of grammer at times. Yet while we write our lengthy manuscripts, in our haste we overlook so much that can actually be corrected and that's where softwares help us think. Newbies like myself are treading new ground here and both perspectives are equally helpful.

Offline Symphony

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2006, 07:01:42 AM »
Hi there,

Sorry - my response was obviously more emotional than I felt!!! (or feel??)

I feel that these computer programmes are probably best suited to more seasoned writers, not beginners - those who know that spell checks usually muck up everything and can cause hugely embarassing errors and that grammar checks don't work 99% of the time. Obviously, these programmes have been working very well for you. They're designed to be used in a certain way and suit certain people and it's brilliant if you can make them work to your advantage. I fear, however, that 99% of people are NOT like you - and that they will rely on these programmes to do their editing, spelling and everything else because that's how they're marketed.  That's what worries me most. 

S
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Offline orchid15

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2006, 12:58:12 PM »
Hi Symphony,

Yeah, your reaction kinda blew me away, especially since you have always seemed so encouraging and friendly.

I have to ask,  Have you ever used stylewriter pro?  It is nothing like MSWord, which i also use, but am not crazy about it.  When it comes to possibly misspelled words, stylewriter gives you the similar words with the meanings,  which is nice for lay and lie, or forth and fourth.  So you aren't picking blindly, you are choosing by meaning.  The program goes a bit overboard marking sexist writing, and highlights girl, woman, lady and man, which might be important in a corporate setting, but perfectly okay in  a novel.  It does suggest not uisng 'pretty', 'nice' and 'lots of', and encourages you to minimize the use of compound verbs.  the only place I have any problems is if I have a person speaking in dialect (Where it tries to have me correct the spelling), or have a child speaking- (then the program marks it as overwriting, which is how kids speak.)

the ignore buttons are easy to use

I've never tried any other grammar programs, mostly because when I was looking for one, Stylewriter was touted to be different from any other and the closest thing to a real person gramatically correcting a piece.  The fact that it gave a 30 day free trial didn't hurt.

You might check it out before asuming it is only for advanced writers, since it has a free trial.

I've tried a lot of other writing programs and felt they weren't worh the bother.  New Novelist and dramatica were a lot of trouble, and probably should be limited to people with more experience.  Just learning the vocabulary for those was a trial.  Actually, I ended up trashing the whole lot except for stylewriter.

Orchid
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Offline Symphony

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2006, 01:31:54 PM »
Quote
Yeah, your reaction kinda blew me away, especially since you have always seemed so encouraging and friendly.

 >:(   Sorry about that. I didn't mean to sound discouraging - just letting off a bit of steam. Apols again.

And once again - it's all about what works, isn't it? And if it works for you I honestly think that's fantastic. And I'm not 'assuming' that it's for advanced writers. On the contrary, these programmes are written for novices - and that's what worries me. If you (that's a general 'you') don't already know what weak verbs are - or weak expressions - then how do you know you're getting the correct informtion from a computer programme? Yes, I know - it's all a matter of using your brain and interpreting the information correctly - and obviously you can do that - but a lot of writers (particularly novices) can't.  That's all I'm trying to say - honestly.

I'm afraid you'll never convince me to try it because I trust my own instincts when it comes to editing. However, I WILL keep the programme in mind and on your recommendation will certainly suggest this particular one to anyone who asks since, from your description, it seems to be reliable and a great asset as a learning tool when used correctly.

Thanks for your help - and the time you've taken to explain your usage of it and your ideas. The debate has definitely convinced me that there IS a programme worth recommending!  ;D

And now I'm off to contemplate the relationship between colours, humour and Rudolph's nose (and you think I'm joking?) - first reasonable bit of inspiration for a story that I've had in a year!

    for you, Orchid

Symphony


Offline DIZI

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2006, 03:45:42 PM »
I think skywriter looks really good, just the thing for beginers like me.
Ufortunately it's out of my price range. Even for the free trial, you had to buy something else first.

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2006, 07:53:08 PM »
I am no good with technology ( I have prob spelled it wrong )

I like my note book.  ;D

Offline Arnie Birk

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2007, 04:58:31 PM »
As always, there's a book about it. Well, in fact, I've got two. One is called "The Complete Guide to Editing Your Fiction". It's by Micheal Seidman (whose surname actually means wizard i Old Norse) and published by Writer's Digest Books. The other one, which is the better of the two in my opinion, is called "Self-Editing For Fiction Writers". It's by Renni Browne and Dave King, and it's published by Quill. Both books are American, but it's almost like English anyway, so give them a try. :D (They are, of course, availble from www.amazon.co.uk.)

Arnie Birk
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 05:00:38 PM by ArnieBirk »
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Offline bob414bob

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2007, 06:27:40 PM »
I have to agree with Symphony to a point. I'm dyslexic and so I have a real problem with grammar and punctuation. Unfortunately, I don't trust my instincts( cos they're normally wrong) but I am aware that spell/ grammar checkers can and do make mistakes. Since I started writing my novel, my spelling has improved, but I run everything through the Google spellcheck (yes, even this post).
It doesn't seem to help if I read something aloud as both versions will seem right to me.
That's why I always ask for my work to be checked for grammar. I think I am slowly improving, but its slow progress.
Just to make you laugh, I get the biggest buzz when my spellcheck says, no spelling mistakes were found. Sad eh!

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2007, 08:53:25 PM »
I get the biggest buzz when my spellcheck says, no spelling mistakes were found. Sad eh!

Jo, I'm not dyslexic, I'm just not that good of a speller.  I also run things through spell check and when I get the all clear without even one correction I feel a little tingle too.  ;)

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