Update on Editing Epic Fantasy Novel Scattered Stones

EditingLate last week, I completed the first serious edit on Scattered Stones, the second book in The Castle Keepers series.

First, let me define serious. The dozen or so edits that occurred before focussed on over-all story, aligning the characters and the plots, and removing unnecessary material that would never play into future books. I edited large sections at a time, but never from start to finish, and I didn’t focus on each particular sentence. Non-serious edits are quicker. I can do a page every five minutes or so.

My serious edit focussed on each sentence individually and at times, it took an hour to do a page. It looked at every verb and weighed it to see if it was the right one, the strongest one for the situation. If there were two verbs in a sentence, I evaluated them both to see if they were necessary. The weaker one—if unneeded—was removed, shortening and tightening the sentence.

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Publishing 101: Spell and Grammar Check

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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This step of my editing process took less than fifteen minutes to complete. The check found eight issues that were easily fixed because they were brought to my attention using MS Word’s Spell Check and Grammar Check software (2010 version).

I know. I’ve heard the experts: Don’t use the computer software for spell check and grammar! Blah! Get over it, experts. Step down off your high horse and reconsider.

Spell and Grammar check does NOT replaceWhy do I use this feature? Because in an instant, it might inform me that I mistakenly used their instead of there, or placed two spaces instead of one between words. BANG! One mistake I may have missed was found. Even after I’ve completed the previous editing steps, there are still mistakes hiding in my manuscript, and if software can point out a few of them, I’m using it.

Spell and Grammar Check does NOT replace a proper edit, but it is a tool to help reduce the number of errors in a manuscript down to as close to zero as I can get it.

The software won’t correct things for me but many times it offers suggestions; the writer still must know whether to accept the advice of the program (and repair the error) or to discard it.

The software is not perfect. For example, it flagged the first ‘lay’ word in this sentence: “They don’t lay every day, but they lay most days.”

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