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The Editing Light Bulb

Hello my fellow bloggers, hope you've had a productive writing week.  Mine was devoted to editing my manuscript.  First, I printed it off, then grabbed my trusty red pen and went to town.   One glaring mistake I noticed (among many), was I tended to repeat phrases.  I seemed to love using the following words: then, such as, just as, but, yet, and at that moment.  I also have problems with commas.  Depending on the day and my mood, either I overused or underused them.  There was no happy medium.
By the time I finished editing the first five chapters, the  pages looked as if someone had bled on them.  

Although I reviewed my draft onscreen multiple times before now, somehow the problems slipped past me.  Guess my editing lightbulb must not have been connected to the outlet back then.

 Best I can figure, my heightened attention to detail was a result of setting the project aside for a while.  Also, I'm sure that having a tangible manuscript didn't hurt anything.  It probably provided a different perspective as I read. Whatever the case, I'm glad the lights came on.
Do any of you follow certain steps or procedures when editing a manuscript?  Is anyone guilty of filling their draft with overused phrases? If so, I'd be interested to know about them.  Until next time, happy writing.  


  1. I had a productive writing week with Nanowrimo.

    I always print out a hard copy, then edit. It gives me a nice break from the computer screen, plus I like the smell and feel of paper under my hands. I used to use 'but' a lot and, well, I still do. It's a pain BUT I'm working on it. ;)

  2. Oh my goodness, I have several over-used words and phrases. And even though I go through it over and over again, I still miss them. Thank goodness for critique partners and their eagle eyes. Good luck with your revision!

  3. I did that exact same thing and discovered I had an affinity for the word THAT! After a while it looked like warts all over my book!! :)

  4. I find that putting the manuscript away really helps. I find phrases like that a lot in my manuscript as well. I hope you get through it though.

  5. Joanne, keep up the good work on Nano. Also, good luck with eliminating the word "but" from your prose. It comes up a lot in mine too.

    Julie, thanks for the well-wishes. I totally agree with what you said here. A second set of eyes makes all the difference in the world between a well-written MS, and one filled with errors.

    Warts!!!! LOL, D.L. "That" is one of the most overused words in my M.S. I noticed people use it a lot when they speak, so it seems natural to transfer into the prose.

    Yes, Clarissa, letting the M.S. marinade in a drawer somewhere really does make a difference during editing. Somehow it allows me to see the words clearly & objectively.

  6. Loved the sketch!

    I use to print out my manuscripts, but found so much needed to keep changing, that I do it all from my WORD. document now. But I do miss my red pen days.

    Setting it aside for a while really helps! I also hope to show it to others more in future!

    Best of luck with your editing!

  7. Hi Jacqueline. Welcome to Aspiring Novelists. I usually edit from Word, but as stated above, doing so caused me to overlook a lot of mistakes. Guess I'd better keep some red pens on hand. Take care.

  8. I overuse then and so. And was. And I overuse !!! I also like to print out a hard copy to edit as well as edit on the Word document on my laptop. Whatever works, it just has to be done then, so there!!

  9. LOL, Karen, you are so right. Editing does have to be done.

  10. OMG! I am a serial repeater. I'll use one phrase several times and then switch to another. All the time totally unaware I'm doing it. I overuse 'it'.

  11. Oh yeah, "it's" easy to overuse pronouns. I was accused of this early in my writing career. Since then, I've been hyper aware of how I use pronouns in prose. Now, if I could only lick the rest of my grammar problems.(:

  12. Hi, new follower from Alex's Insecure Writer's Project. I find that I not only repeat words but sometimes ideas. Good luck with your editing!


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