Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On a mission to search and destroy: Deleting the sticky

I have hit the half way mark in my sequel and have stopped to take an edit break. I am hoping that this mid-book editing will make the major editing season at the end not be so overwhelming.

First step of editing process: DESTROY words that make a sentence sticky!

What words make a sentence sticky? Overuse of common glue words like that, it, just, and went. It is also the overuse of adverbs like very and really. Glue words generally link nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.

For a list of the most common and overused words in the English language check out this awesome wiki article that list them all out. 

Example of one of my sentences that contains an unnecessary word: "JUST"

Unedited: "I’m doing just fine on my own," he said

Edited: "I'm doing fine on my own," he said.

How do you know if the glue word needs to be removed? Remove it and read it out loud. Does it sound better? Less wordy? For me this holds true for my overuse of "Just " and "That." Half the time the usage of those words adds nothing but length to the sentence.

Second step of editing process: Destroy the -ly adverbs!
This is hard for me since I "REALLY" love adverbs. According to Stephen King, "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." His argument is that the writer needs to trust the reader to understand the context of the situation without clogging up the sentences with adverbs.

Question of the day: What are your thoughts? How do you edit? Do you edit at the half way point or do you wait until the end?

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