Word choice reveals voice
While I'm writing, at speed, words tumble onto my screen via my keyboard. They are rarely consciously chosen. Instead, my unconscious (or maybe subconscious) mind selects words from my vocabulary.
Each of us has a unique vocabulary: a set of words that are familiar to us, and that we use with confidence. When we write, we include a subset of these words, and – with luck – the ones...
With dialogue, less is always more
Steps 5-7 of my RedPen editing cycle required me to check on two fundamental decisions I've taken while writing Dead Wood.
My choice of tense (present)
My choice of voice (first person)
And then to see how well I've structured the book.
Having identified issues with the structure and balance, I have a number of options.
I can add new material, filling any plot holes, providing more...
I’m now hard copy editing (i.e. on paper) and my main focus is on pruning, but Scrivener still has a role to play. Three tools come to the fore at this stage.
For those keen to learn how I use these tools: scroll down towards the end of this post where I share specific examples. Meanwhile, this blog post explains how to create collection when you do a search. ...
Sketches pin down your people, places and props
My RedPen Editing course called People, Places and Props explains the importance of these three essential components of any story. In a nutshell:
People in a story are your characters. It would be strange to have a story that has no characters!
Places are your settings. Each scene has a setting and a cast of characters involved at that moment in time.
Within that setting, the characters...
Scrivener: perfect for writing collections
Scrivener is not just for novelists. I write short stories and poems, and use Scrivener for my stock of this material, including a record of what's been published and where.
The best template for collections of material?
If you plan to keep all your poems (or stories, or articles, or essays) in one Scrivener project, I recommend you start with the Novel with Parts template.
This provides a great...
Seek and ye shall find!
Scrivener provides three types of search:
The Project search allows you to find instances of particular words or phrases within the whole project, subject to choices you make about where you want the search to happen, and how fussy you are about what is to be found. There is also a Project Replace tool – which searches and replaces.
The Document search is confined to the selected document(s)...
Editor's feedback - the Scrivener way
How do you, a professional editor, provide feedback to your writer client?
Some time ago, I outlined my developmental editing process in this blog post.
My developmental editing feedback process
To recap: When a writer sends me their manuscript as a Scrivener project file, my role is to read it and provide feedback, whatever stage they have reached.
I'm not copy editing, or line editing, but providing advice on...
The Devil in the Detail
In the previous blog post, I focused on the global 'Big Picture' tasks. Now it's the turn time to address the 'Devil in the Detail'.
Global 'Devil in the Detail' tasks
Global 'Devil in the Detail' tasks affect the whole manuscript but lend themselves to being addressed piecemeal. For example:
Overuse of a particular word eg very, always
Lack of variety in sentence starts eg overuse of 'It...