Grin. I just finished what I hope is the penultimate edit on “Tishta the Crystal Orb” this evening. It was a word edit. Here is my list:
as soon as —> when
was/were complaining —> complained, (and so much more than that)
there was/there were
even though —> although
for a moment
turned and …
went to… look —> looked
by the time —> when
could see —> saw
the big man
straight to —> to
without a word, silently, without saying anything
over (as in ‘he looked over at …’, but also others)
have (has, had) to —> need to (not all of them, but a fair number)
I did the edit in this order, although, I would suggest starting with the bear, was/were. It was by far the most intense. It entailed rewriting whole sentences, whereas most of the others were either word removals or replacements. Caveat—long ago, I edited for “suddenly,” which I removed almost entirely, along with all but a select few exclamation marks. There might be other words I already squashed, as well.
Of course, I did not remove/replace every instance, but it was a lot of time and effort to find them all and decide what to do. I made a complete pass through the book for each one of them. Maybe I am insane. I am not certain other authors go through such effort. It entailed a certain amount of tedium, but actually became more like a puzzle, especially the was/were changes.
I ended up making two passes for was/were. In the first one, I replace things like “was fighting” with “fought,” where appropriate. I might have gone a little overboard with these, and have already changed some back. I think I’ll catch most of these on the next edit pass.
The second was/were pass was more complex. Some examples of the changes made in this pass are:
“The bank was filled with Aldashi warriors,” which became “Aldashi warriors filled the bank.”
“There was little vegetation growing…” was changed to “Little vegetation grew…”
Many of the edits were about using the active, rather than passive, verb. The edits took me almost a month to complete. I am really excited to dive into the next edit, which is to record each scene and listen to ensure I like the way the words sound. I used this technique all the way to the end of the second draft, but I have not made updates to my recordings since then—since around November. The current recording is so out of date, it is no longer enjoyable to listen to for me—innumerable edits have been made, and now, I keep thinking, “I should change that,” followed quickly by, “maybe I already changed that.” Fortunately, I have early recordings of the next two books to entertain me until I finish Tishta.
The recording edit will be one of my biggest challenges. I will set up a studio, of sorts, in a padded closet, so the end result will be publishable as an audiobook. Once I have the studio set up, I expect the actual recording and editing to take about sixty hours—the book is around seventeen hours long. I like that I will be able to release the (author-read) audiobook and ebook—and, who knows, perhaps the carbon-based one—at the same time.
While doing all of this, I am also coding my author page. I will keep you posted as to when it comes online. I am writing it myself not only to give me more flexibility on what it offers, but also to create a page using the latest technologies (to satisfy the software developer in me).
I hope you find this list useful in your editing. I know I will be paying a lot closer attention to my writing with respect to this list—especially my propensity for using passive verbs—as I continue on my writing journey. For the next books, hopefully there will not be as much editing to accomplish at the end.
Thanks for your words of encouragement and advice. I appreciate it. I should be editing. More later.
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