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SUEFROMRI's Photo SUEFROMRI Posts: 473
3/20/14 4:14 P

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What a great idea to have the computer read it to you!


Sue
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“You can complain that roses have thorns, or rejoice that thorns have roses.” ~Ziggy

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CHELERY1's Photo CHELERY1 SparkPoints: (11,039)
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3/19/14 10:01 P

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One of the best things I've found for self editing is to have my computer read my manuscript to me while I read along -- after I've completed the book. I usually find most of my errors and word repetitions that way. :-)

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MADEIT3's Photo MADEIT3 Posts: 2,586
3/19/14 2:13 P

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Their - there - they're: these are probably the most common word usage errors, so much so that there's a t-shirt. And when keying fast, it's easy to make that and other mistakes like it. The one I see most often is "to" for "too."

Word usage problems like the ones spell check won't catch can stem from the same person reading the same material repeatedly. Best way to avoid those errors is to get someone who has never seen the material to proofread. I usually try and get a detail-oriented administrative assistant with good grammar to proof for me. They catch things I don't even consider errors, but once caught, I at least look at the grammar or the word usage to be sure.

Word usage errors are my personal bugaboo. For example "pension" for "penchant" - "wreckless" for "reckless" and "reign" for "rein." I have a couple of favorites that seem to come straight out of the Midwest since I've never heard them anywhere else: Old Timer's Syndrome for Alzheimer's Syndrome and flustrated for frustrated.

We could probably do this for days...


Stacy, KS

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SUEFROMRI's Photo SUEFROMRI Posts: 473
3/18/14 11:28 P

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"Their are many ways of editing your piece." I hope the first word was to prove a point in the topic editing.
I notice that I pick up errors in others' work now that I am writing a mysteries series. Mostly typos that spell check wouldn't catch.


Sue
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"Your future self is the cumulative total of today's choices. Today make your best choices." ~Sue Winn
“Attitude: It is our best friend or our worst enemy.” ~ Maxwell
“You can complain that roses have thorns, or rejoice that thorns have roses.” ~Ziggy

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IGNITEME101's Photo IGNITEME101 Posts: 4,821
3/6/14 2:16 P

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All of this editing talk is relative.
Most of us , will probably begin with 'self editing' because of the 'big bucks'.

So Thank you for the suggestions!



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MADEIT3's Photo MADEIT3 Posts: 2,586
12/2/13 8:55 A

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Self editing is a skill that can be developed although most writers I know prefer the "right brain" creative process to the "left brain" proofing process. I do get a charge out of writers who use "peak" instead of "peek" (or vice versa), and other errors of that ilk. As a romance reader (yes, I admit it) I get to see many poorly edited manuscripts. It doesn't seem to matter whether they are self-published or put out by a publisher - errors abound.

Everyone needs an editor and to think you don't is a bit of arrogance. I'm lucky enough to have a real editor in the family. I've learned so much from him - and when he writes, yes, he uses an editor! Sometimes me!!

Editing is so much more than a list of rules. Adverbs? Depends on what reference you look at. Stephen King always said "the road to hell is paved with adverbs" and since he spent a lot of time in hell, he would know. Effect and affect? One is a noun and one is a verb (for the most part). There, their, and they're? Or here and hear? Or I and me? You can look them up if you're not sure.

But the reality is that the language is changing faster than I can write. For example, when I started working as a writer, there was a rule about "staff" as a collective noun that used a singular verb form. That rule has changed a short 35 years later!!

I like to spend time on the grammar sites to see what's what and what's changed - I'll try and post some of them - and I'll try to make them the "free" sites.

What's important to me is to understand that in English, editing is somewhat more art than science. As such, we need to be gentle with one another!! I might laugh privately when I see a sign that says "Re-Grand Opening" (swear to you, I saw such a sign on my way to work this morning). But I will probably shop in that store without mentioning the error.

I'll wince inwardly when someone uses "impact" as a verb - but I know I'm old school, I know I have my biases - all writers do - and I stay silent. Until I'm appointed editor. Then the gloves are off!

Anyway, just some thoughts...

Stacy, KS

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12/1/13 8:27 A

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Dear Turtle,

You started out on the right track then you jumped the rails with some of this advice. First of all, language is what gives writing style and flair. Stop dumbing down the reader. It's perfectly fine to make the reader stretch his vocabulary and even to have him pick up a dictionary while he is reading your piece. Be exact in your writing.

1. Adverbs are wonderful, that's why they are used so frequently in classic writing.

2.NEVER us over instead of more than. "Over" is a reference to height. "More than" is a reference to quantity. They are NOT interchangeable as modern writers may lead you think. Examples: "I rarely have more than 5 dollars in my pocket." Not: "I rarely have over 5 dollars in my pocket." The cow jumped over the moon. Dad drove over Mikey's bike when he backed out of the driveway.

3. "Due to" is a reference to time. "Because of" is a reason why an event occurred. Example: "The train is due to arrive at 5:00 p.m." Not: "The pool is closed due to a leaking pipe." The pool is closed because of a leaking pipe.

4. "A lot" in not a four letter word.

5. "Have got" is redundant, as is "little bit."

6. Use hyphens sparingly when dealing with modifiers. Add compound words to you electronic dictionary so spell check can recognize them later.

7. Don't rely on spell check to catch your mistakes. It doesn't catch misused words only misspelled words.

8. If you don't know the difference between "effect" and "affect" look them both up in the dictionary.

Finally, always use an editor. They get the big money for a reason. The brain tends to read what you think you wrote, not always what you actually wrote.

If you, (I am using the colloquial "you" here not the personal "you") want to be a great writer then you need to be a great reader of great works. There is a reason writers like Shakespeare, Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley and others are still taught in school. It's not only that they tell a good story, it's because they use language to paint a picture.

Good luck with your writing.

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POPEYETHETURTLE's Photo POPEYETHETURTLE SparkPoints: (218,041)
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11/27/13 11:28 P

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Their are many ways of editing your piece. One way is to send it to a professional editor and let them take a red pencil and hack it up completely so that when you get it back it looks like someone bled all over it.

I prefer to edit as I go, and other writers I know write te entire first draft, then go back and edit it.

Whatever works for you, do it until you find an easier of better way that you are comfortable with.

The following are some techniques I have been taught, in no particular order with the exception of the first two.
SAVE AFTER EVERY PAGE - SAVE IF YOU'RE GOING AWAY TO EAT LUNCH - SAVE IF YOU HAVE TO GO USE THE RESTROOM. - AT THE END OF THE DAY, SAVE EVERYTHING YOU WROTE TO DETACHABLE MEDIA. PLACE YOUR DETACHED MEDIA INTO A STORAGE SLEEVE AND PUT IT AROUND YOUR NECK LIKE DOG-TAGS!

Just add five to each of the following numbers:

1. Cut long sentences into two; cut very long sentences at least into three.
2. Always write in a positive voice. You can be POSITIVE the villain is a scumbag!
3. Passive voice is like being passive-aggressive unless your character is passive-aggressive, send passive to the dump.
4. Write in the same voice - it's easier to read.
5. Can the stuffy words. Unless you are writing your thesis or doctoral presentation, assume you are writing to a tenth grader.
6. Words are the tools of our craft. if you have one word that exactly fits and that one word is above the 10th grade level, use it. They can either figure it out from the context or check Merriam-Webster. DON'T DO THIS MORE THAN ONCE OR TWICE IN A BOOK. If your readers feel like you're looking down on them, how many more books are they going to buy?
7. If you've said it once, being redundant makes you look foolish.
8. Reduce prepositions. "Never end a sentence with a preposition" (My Third Grade English teacher).
9. Cut and re-word, "in order to", "who" - which who? Don't use "start to". Be extra careful when a sentence starts with "There are", or ,"There is".
10. DO USE contractions. Did you ever read a book or story where you felt like your eyeballs were on stilts? ("There is a way that cowboy's talk, but not how I have just written. There's a way cowboys talk, an' sometimes they lose letters and refer to all of you as "Y'all") Write the way you would as if you were telling the story to a group of friends. If it looks uncomfortable when you read it, say it aloud - that should convince you one way or another.
11. Steer clear of walking into the "ing" trip-wire.
12. Speak your work, check your commas.
13. Adverbs are only for the weak and infirm.
14. Use "over", not "more than".
15.Hyphenate modifiers.
16. Check for excess punctuation.
17. Re-check everything, TWICE.
18. Put your manuscript down. Don't look at it for at least three days
19. Come back after three days and look at it with fresh eyes. This time, read it on your computer screen in a different style type and height.

20. Don't take these suggestions as holy writ. I don't - but for me, it usually works better if I follow almost all of them.

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