Monday, 30 June 2014

L is for Line Editing

Before I begin a new chapter, I read through the previous one and tweak it prior to submitting it to an online historical critique group for constructive comments and suggestions. My 'critiquers' are kind enough to point out missing commas, awkward phrases and much more as well as letting me know what they like. After I apply whatever I agree with, I read chapters aloud at Watford Writers where I receive invaluable feedback,  including suggestions re editing.
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The hard work begins after I finish a novel. First of all, I highlight words I want to use sparingly, such as and,  was,  were,  had,  as, etc. I then look, for example , for   phrases  joined by and. Frequently, I divide sentences into two by deleting and, which makes my prose more concise.

I then use the spelling and grammar check to correct spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Afterwards I check both the spelling and grammar when I re-read the entire novel.

I make sure that I have not either repeated any words frequently or used the same word too close together.

For example: in the sequel to Sunday's Child, Monday's Child I wrote the following:-

"Appreciative of his well-schooled, black gelding, Langley mounted and settled on the saddle. He patted the powerful animal’s glossy neck.

A wagon pulled by powerful Flemish horses approached from the opposite direction."

When writing I was concentrating on the story, when editing I replaced ' the powerful Flemish horses' with 'the strong Flemish horses.'

I remove clichés, unless a character uses them in dialogue - but I still use them sparingly - get rid of anything trite and make sure my metaphors read well.

I also rewrite sentences and sometimes move a scene from one part of the novel to another.

Finally, prior to submission, I check the novel by reading it aloud bit by bit because if I read too much at a time my concentration wavers.

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