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How to self-edit your book


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I have read this article a couple of times because I sometimes use the ProWriteAid Thesaurus when tidying up my writing.

 

To be honest, great as it is that the program picks up all the nous, adverts, adjectives, a lot of the time, the subistutes are no use because they would not convey the meaning of the piece.

 

I wondered if anyone else use PWA or another program and has experienced similar issues?  How much notice do you take of cutting your adverbs & adjectives?

 

 

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Phew !  Thanks.  I have gone through the 1st chapter of Hannah and removed some, replaced others which seems to have improved the writing. But you are right, it is a question of being selective.

 

I've just gone through my 1st book - Ragtag Souls, and to my dismay (and annoyance) found that the guy who copy edited (and supposedly proofed it) has missed loads of grammar errors. I know PWA is not great and can be picky, but some issues I now must correct, the guy should have picked up.  I am really disappointed.  If I can see them, he should  have.

 

It may explain why my submissions have got nowhere. Looks like I will have to go through this myself to clean it up. Don't think I will be using him again.

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Just done chapter 1-3.  To be fair they are not as many as it first seemed but I still think he should have picked them up. 

 

I was thinking about revisiting the MS to see if I could improve it - seems like a good idea I did check it. 

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Enjoyed the article, @lynnmosher, thanks for sharing. 

That first point really gets me as an editor. The other day I was working with a 5,100 word article. Just by trimming his verbosity I got it down to 4,800. And I really want to cut at least another 50 but it's a new client so I'm already potentially ticking him off.

Long ago Cecil Murphy taught me to "value your reader's time" and it has been one of the most important concepts I keep in mind as a writer. If I'm writing to sound eloquent or because of my needs as a writer I am asking people to waste time they can never get back. Trimming (or explaining) to speed their comprehension is a sign of honor.

The commas were hilarious.

I read to my kids all the time for schoolwork and markers that help me read with the original sense and emotion are huge helps. Some authors frustrate me because I have to reread lines of dialog because I'd given a radically different performance than the information afterwards finally indicates. 

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Question - a lot of the grammar issues that PWA pick up are commas - i.e it tells me there should be a comma after a word but the copy editor did not put it in Who's right? How accurate is the software?

 

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