In step 4 of my Red Pen Editing cycle, we ‘Study the Content’.
The red pen does not make an appearance until step 8; we are still at the thinking / reading / listening / planning stage.
Ideally, you ask a friend to read the piece aloud and you listen, pretending to be your target audience, but with your mental checklist in mind:
- Does it start well? Do I like the title?
- Does the plot work?
- Do I need all the characters? Are they how I envisaged them?
- Am I involved in the story and the characters? Do I care what happens next?
- How does it end? Was the takeaway message as intended?
While you listen to your friend, you’ll be aware if he or she stumbles over your words. Words that are repeated might echo for you. Or, they might not!
ProWritingAid to the rescue …
Repeating words or phrases on purpose can have a dripping tap effect and this may be precisely what you want. Repeating them, unaware is easily done and is to be avoided.
The Repeats report identifies words and phrases that you use frequently. It lists them and underlines them, leaving you to decide which you might change.
An example from NANO 2011 draft: The Ghost Writer
This is another scene from The Ghost Writer, still in draft form, and written in 2011 during NaNoWriMo.
The name Ruth appears 4 times, and Cathy 6 times. This is understandable – they are the main characters. However, should I consider using pronouns instead? More on that in a later blog post …
Next is ‘sexual’ with 4 occurrences; I’ll need to find alternative words, maybe. Right-clicking on the term reveals the option to open Word Explorer. One of the options under the Thesaurus is ‘intimate’. Perhaps I should use that as a substitute?
There is also the option for a full Thesaurus report. This provides alternatives for verbs, adjectives, nouns, and adverbs, each category underlined in a different colour.
So many of the words are underlined and, for most, I wouldn’t want to make a change. It’s worth checking though; ‘seldom’ is an improvement on ‘rarely’?
ProWritingAid works with Scrivener
This is post 3 of my series looking at how ProWritingAid works with Scrivener.
- ProWritingAid offer a free eBook for you to download.
- If you’re interested in learning more about the Red Pen Editing cycle, my book is available on Amazon, only £2.99.
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