Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Deep Cleaning Your Manuscript


Ahhh…Springtime!
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Tiny leaves unfurling. Daffodils and hyacinths pushing out of the ground. Dogwood and forsythia blooming. Springtime!  (Also traditionally synonymous with SPRING CLEANING…!)
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Winter, with its shortened hours of daylight, cold weather and lowered energy levels, means hit and miss housecleaning for many of us. Fairly superficial. Vacuuming or floor scrubs are limited to spills you don’t want tracked through the rest of the house. Layers of dust are addressed only when you find your kids tracing faces in it. From a Winter perspective,  all may appear to be in order, but with our Springtime eyes we know better. Grimy baseboards, ceiling fans and mini-blinds cry out for attention. Curtains demand to be washed, furniture oiled, floors scrubbed. Closets whine for decluttering and garages beg to be swept and reorganized.
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Yes, when our energy levels return and sunnier hours point out cobwebby corners, our thoughts often turn to deep cleaning.
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Writing a book in many ways is similar to the Winter months’ equivalent of housecleaning. You do what must be done—get the words on the page. You may even revise extensively, tighten the story, ramp up the conflict and layer in added characterization, foreshadowing and the evocative use of the senses. But you likely haven’t paid much attention to the too-often-overlooked details. You know, addressing the writing equivalent of dusty baseboards and chipped calking--giving the manuscript a deep cleaning—detailing—before submitting it to an editor or agent.
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I keep a “cheat sheet” for this final labor before I send my manuscript on its way.
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A cheat sheet’s contents will vary by writer. We each have our own bag of foibles, pitfalls we slip into when racing to get words on a page. Overused pet words and phrases.  Empty words that add nothing. Words misspelled or used incorrectly as our fingers fly across the keyboards. Too many ellipses or m-dashes. Extra spaces between sentences. We know there will be plenty of time for taking care of that stuff later, right?
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But it’s all too easy to forget, when you reach your manuscript’s Springtime, to take final steps to dig into the details, especially when you’re on a deadline and down to the wire. That’s why I have a cheat sheet—an ever growing list of reminders—that I review before I call it good. Today I’d like to share a sampling from it!
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1 - When devising your own deep cleaning cheat sheet, include the “lame” words that pepper your manuscript. You’ll have your own “pets,” but below are some of mine from my cheat sheet pages (which I keep in a clear top-loading sheet in a small binder with a few other check lists I want to easily get my hands on). Doing a “lame word” search not only cleans up the manuscript, but it’s also is a handy tool when you need to trim your word count.
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You don’t delete ALL findings of these words, of course, but on a case-by-case basis make a decision to keep, delete or replace with a more suitable word.
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2 - Not only do I find WORD redundancy riddling my manuscript, but also IDEA redundancy. You know, saying the same thing two different ways in a sentence or paragraph OR using a word that means the same thing to describe another word: "new innovations,"  "noisy cacophony.”  These are a little harder to dig out than the word searches, but worth the hunt.
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3 – I also keep on my cheat sheet a list of troublesome words gleaned from grammar, punctuation and usage manuals. Here’s a sampling of ones on which I sometimes stumble in the rush to get words on the page.

Already - The order had already (previously) been shipped. All ready - the order is all ready (prepared) to be shipped. 
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Altogether = entirely;   All together = all in a group
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Maybe = "perhaps";  May be is a verb ("we may be out of work")
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Sometime = unspecified time; sometimes = now & then; some time = a long time ago
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Less = refers to quantity; Fewer = refers to number (if you can count them, use fewer)
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Among = more than 2;  Between = 2
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Farther = refers to actual distance (“A drive to town was farther (actual distance) than we expected”); Further = refers to figurative distance and means “to a greater degree or extent.” (Let’s discuss the idea further (to a greater extent).”
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4 – And what about those words we totally know the right and wrong of, but they fly off our typing fingertips anyway?  The possessive “its” versus “it’s,” the contraction for it is? And “their” versus “they’re.” I could list a million of these!
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5 – Be sure to run that spell-check, too, remembering that it won’t catch words that you’ve used incorrectly.  If you meant gait and you typed gate, spell check won’t catch that. Sometimes Word catches incorrect usage, but you can’t count on it.
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6 – I also look out for words that distance the reader from the point of view character, such as felt, thought, knew, wondered.  When you’re in Deep POV, you don’t need to say: She wondered what he was doing here. Instead, just say: What was he doing here?
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7 – Watch out for “felt,” as in “she felt angry.” Instead, SHOW us she’s angry.
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8 – Now that the standard is a single space between sentences, I find it helpful to search on TWO spaces to weed those double spaces out. I also copy and paste m-dashes from my manuscript into “Find” so I can catch all of those and evaluate whether that’s the best use or if another form of punctuation would be better.
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9 – Beware of “Find and Replace ALL.”  Believe me, you can really get yourself in trouble with that one…!!
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My “Cheat Sheet” continues to grow--and I’d love to hear what you would add to it! Do YOU have a deep cleaning “cheat sheet” for that final detailing of your manuscript? What’s on it?  And if you don’t have one, what would you include?
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If you’re new to Seekerville, please stop by our comments section and introduce yourself.  And DO check out our archives for five years of helpful posts on the writing craft and encouragement to persevere toward your publication dream. Those of us here in Seekerville love helping other writers get off Unpubbed Island!
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If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Chris Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem,” please mention it in the comments section, then check our Weekend Edition for the winner announcement!
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Glynna
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Glynna Kaye’s debut book “Dreaming of Home” was a finalist in the ACFW Carol and Maggie awards, as well as a first place winner of the “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. Her 4 1/2 star “At Home In His Heart” was chosen as a Reviewers Choice finalist by national magazine RT Book Reviews. Another Love Inspired book set in Arizona, “A Canyon Springs Courtship,” will release in September 2013--with two more contracted for 2014!

124 comments:

Jamie Adams said...

This post could not have come at a better time! I am deep into editing and now have a great 'cheat' sheet to use. Thank you!

Actually my eyes are getting heavy and it's time to go to bed but I'll be back in the morning.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cheat sheets!!!! Wonderful!

Coffee's on, Seekerville, and the day beginneth anew!

Glynna, I just smile every time I see that pic.

I love it that much!

We're having a new roof started on our old barn-of-a-house today so it's going to get noisy around here and I have to keep the babies away from falling nails, shingles and men....

and huge holes in the backyard destined to become my new family room.

Anybody got Advil??????

Debby Giusti said...

Handing Ruthy Advil...

Glynna, this post is a keeper, for sure!

Great cheat sheet that will remind me of what I need to weed out of my drafts.

Thank you!

Debby Giusti said...

I'm guilty of doing a "Find" and "Replace All" for a character name I needed to change. SAM. Oh my. I got into big trouble. The computer found s-a-m in a number of words throughout my manuscript. All of which were deleted. YIKES!

I learned my lesson the hard way.

Jackie said...

Morning Glynna!

Great post. This is definitely a keeper. I'm working on "cleaning up" a story now and this is perfect for me.

Thanks so much for sharing, and please toss my name in the drawing.

Jackie L.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, Jamie! I'm glad the timing for the post arrived just in time for your manuscripts Spring Cleaning!!

Glynna Kaye said...

RUTHY -- Prayers for your roofing project!!

Glynna Kaye said...

ALL -- Does anyone know what that flower is that I put at the top of my post? I took the picture in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix area). It looks a bit like a hibiscus, but I'm not sure that's right.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, DEBBY! Hope the 'cheat sheet' helps. When I'm wrapping up a book, it always helps me with that final clean-up.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, JACKIE L! Another Seekervillager ready for the clean up stage! Congrats!

Glynna Kaye said...

ALL -- What words and 'issues' would YOU put on a "cheat sheet" for a search and destroy mission? I'm always on the lookout for new things to add to mine, so help me out please! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

DEBBY -- Yes, I learned the hard way to avoid the "find and replace ALL" method. You don't realize how many words contain the same sequence of letters. So I do them one at a time now!

Jenny Blake said...

The big question is has spring sprung in all states? is it spring weather in Washington DC and Pennsylvania? How about Washington state?
Autumn is here well and truly although it looks like ANZAC day tomorrow will be a good day (I just hope the overnight min is what it said) Planning to go to my first dawn service.

Looks like a Hibiscus to me too.



Ruthy I have plenty of Advil and other pain killers! I can share although need them myself today. over used the wrist yesterday and its been sore today.



Rose said...

Great, great, great, advice.

I always do a word search on pet words. When I remove them I have stronger tighter sentences!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, JENNY! It's sort of Spring in the Arizona mountains. We had lows of 12, 14 & 15 just a few days ago (which killed my pretty blooming hyacinths). It spiked up to a high of 70 one day, but is back in the low 60's again. Very windy, which makes it feel colder. No leaves on my maple tree yet, but I've noticed some Navajo willows around town are just beginning to get some.

What's ANZAC?

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, ROSE! What are some of YOUR "pet words" that you search for?

Debby Giusti said...

Atlanta is going to be in the 50s today, Jenny, returning to the 70s (which is warm) over the weekend. Your temps are in celsius, aren't they?

Bring layers.

Debra E. Marvin said...

I love it! I have a cheat sheet too, and behind it, about 6-7 pgs of notes that I read over when I'm in the last bits of editing. Things I read over to challenge myself.

When I get home tonight I'll look it over and see if there's anything of great revelation there, worthy to be shared. (I pretty much got it all from years of Seekerville posts, so...)

Ruthy CAN YOU HEAR ME? SORRY ABOUT THE NOISE!!!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Glynna, this post is much needed. I am diving back into my completed manuscript next week. I am hoping a bit of a break helps me see it with new eyes.

PS. Got your card! I had totally forgotten! Thanks a bunch.

Peace, Julie

CatMom said...

Thank you Glynna--and as sweet Debby G. said, this post is a KEEPER! I'm still editing/polishing my SpeedBo story and your deep-cleaning tips are exactly what I needed (along with Sandra's awesome post yesterday).

You Seekers are wonderful, and I SO appreciate all the suggestions and tips you offer.

Please enjoy the Peach muffins I just took out of the oven, along with Georgia Pecan waffles for those who prefer something "heavier" LOL.
Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Audra Harders said...

Do you PROMISE energy will return with longer days and more sunshine? Sheesh, this has been one loooooong winter!

I love the cheat sheet. Words creep into our WIP that don't add to the quality, just the quantity. These pesky freeloaders must be tossed : )

Thanks for the tips, Glynna. I'm ready to do some spring cleaning on my mss, if not my house.

Dust bunnies are my friends...

Christina Lorenzen said...

Glynna,
Thank you for a great post. Just in time for a project in need of edits. It'll be great to have it when I complete the story I'm writing now.
Love my daily visit to Seekerville!

Cindy Regnier said...

I love the idea of the cheat sheet but somehow I think mine is going to be pretty long. My worst 'pet words' are "a bit" and extra "thats." So obvious when i read it over I have to wonder why I put them there in the first pIace. I have been working the last few months in the clean-up process and appreciate your suggestions. This seekerville post is a keeper. Oh - throw my name in the hat if you would please.

Jeanne T said...

Glynna, thank you for this post! My revisions are going S-L-O-W-L-Y, but I plan to use your tips here pretty soon. I agree, this one is definitely a keeper. :) I've found that as I work through each of my chapters, I have certain weasel words in that sneak in. One consistent word for me is "turn." I'm definitely going to be re-reading your post.

Oh, and I think someone said it, but the flower in your post is a hibiscus. :) We see them when we visit hubby's family in Hawaii.

RUTHY--I hope the roof goes up quickly. We've done it twice since moving back to Colorado--hail damage. Have fun with all the fun house tihngs you're doing!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good Morning, DEBRA! Yes, DO share with us when you get back home and can look over your own cheat sheets.

Glynna Kaye said...

JULIE H.S. - Is this manuscript you'll be diving back in on one you wrapped up during SPEEDBO or another one?

CatMom said...

P.S. Poor Ruthy!! I am "hearing" all that roof-pounding right now, and feel for you (even have a headache in honor of your new roof, LOL). When it's time for another Advil, wash it down with this pitcher of Georgia Peach punch I made just for you!
Hugs, Patti Jo

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good Morning Glynna, What a great idea to have a cheat sheet. One thing I always need to look for is a repeat of a word over and over again. Seems whenever I sit down, one word (and its different every time) keeps getting used over and over. So I always look for those.

It has been a cold winter and spring. Crazy weather. But I think we're on a warming trend. Hopefully. I can hardly wait to see the maple tree with its new leaves.

Glynna Kaye said...

PATTI JO -- I'm glad the posts hit the spot with you! All you SeekerVILLAGERS are wonderful, too!

And thanks for bringing the peach muffins and pecan waffles! Helen isn't here yet to put on coffee and, since I don't drink coffee and therefore can't MAKE it well, I've brought orange and apple juice to go with your yummy breakfast treats!

Connie Queen said...

#3 is the hard one for me. All those annoying little differences...

I don't which is worse, cleaning all the dirty corners of my house or cleaning my messy writing. But both must be done.

Enjoyed the post and glad to have a cheat sheet when the time comes.

Marianne Barkman said...

Glenna, if that's not a picture of a hibiscus , then I have no idea what it is. We've called it that for years. Why do you say you are sure it's not one?

Ruthie, come over with your babies. I'd live to have you!

Glynna Kaye said...

AUDRA -- I'm still waiting for the re-energizing that Spring brings, too! I think because we're both at high elevations where it's colder (I can look out my window at the mountains and see snow right now), it's a little slower coming than for other folks! I can hardly wait until I can open up the windows by my desk and let in fresh, WARM air!

Julie Lessman said...

YAY ... I just LOVE CHEAT SHEETS!! In writing, that is, never in school. And, YES ... that was a "just" in my first sentence because I'm just a little bit (bit is another) partial to them ... ;) EXCELLENT POST, Glynna, and if ever there was a keeper sheet, this is it!!

PATTI JO!!! And sweet Texas tea, if EVER there was a way to this Seeker's heart, it's anything "peach" or "pecan," so pass over another couple of peach muffins and Georgia Pecan waffles, girl!! At this rate, I will need a shoe horn to get into my mother-of-the-bride dress ... :|

And, RUTHY ... I'd give you some IBU, but looks like Deb and Jenny already took care of you with Advil, so how about ear plugs???

Hugs,
Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

GOOD MORNING, CHRISTINA! It sounds as if many of you are in--or heading toward--the deep cleaning phase! While it's 'picky' work, I love this phase because it means I'll soon send my manuscript sailing out the door!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, CINDY R! I'm the world's worst about repetitive and lame words. I have a very limited time to write each day (about 90 minutes) and, therefore, I don't do much clean-up on a daily basis. So when I do that final word search it's SHOCKING how many instances of the same lame words I find!

Janet Dean said...

Glynna, That bright morning sun streaming in the windows yesterday revealed the dust and clutter that the soft light of winter allowed me to ignore. That says I've got work to do to get this place in shape.

Fun how you compared that reality to our manuscripts. Love your cheat sheet! It's a necessity for me! Like my spring cleaning To Do list, I need a list of things I need to clean up before submitting my manuscripts!

Today looks dreary. So I'll put off the dusting one more day. :-)

Janet

Glynna Kaye said...

I'm getting several confirmations that the flower is a hibiscus. I thought it looked like one, but hadn't seen one since I lived in the tip of Southern Illinois so I wasn't sure. We had magnolias down there, too. Gorgeous, flowering springs.

Glynna Kaye said...

JEANNE T - "turn" as in "she turned to" ? I use that one way too much.

Oooh, it must be nice to have family in HAWAII! I've never been there. Do you have a favorite island you'd recommend?

Glynna Kaye said...

GOOD MORNING, SANDRA! You're going to have to look REAL CLOSE to see any leaves on my maple tree. I think there are some near the very top, but they don't look so good after that 12 degree low last Friday. And as you know, it's pointless at this elevation to even think of planting flowers before Memorial Day.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

And put me in!

Peace, Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, CONNIE! That #3 is an ever-growing list for certain.

I'm still in the getting words on the page phase of my current WIP, but on days when I can squeeze out a little energy I've beeen doing some Spring housecleaning. It's a LONG process as I don't have a day or two when I get just hit it hard and get it all done at once. Like my writing, it has to be a little bit at a time. But how good it feels when you can step back and know it's behind you!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Yes, it is the same. I went off to Hawaii right afterwards. Given myself time to read!

Peace, Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, MARIANNE! I just wasn't sure what the flower is because I haven't seen one like it since I moved to the mountains. They don't grow at 7,000 ft, so I thought maybe I was mistaken.

Mary Connealy said...

What about
all right
and
alright

My word program always tagged 'alright' as a typo. So I've switched to always using 'all right' but I'm not sure that's alright.

Glynna Kaye said...

JULIE - "Just" is one of my worst, too! UGH!

Glynna Kaye said...

JANET -- putting off the dusting another day sounds like an excellent plan. :)

The thing I hate MOST about Spring cleaning is the mini-blinds. Anyone have any tricks for tackling those?

Glynna Kaye said...

JULIE H.S. -- So very, very sad you had to recuperate from Speedbo IN HAWAII..! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

GOOD MORNING, MARY -- I've found my Word program tags things as errors that aren't when I look them up in the dictionary or my very favorite "Gregg Reference Manual" (if you don't have a copy of that one, check it out). I also find Word doesn't catch the things that ARE errors. So the old-fashiioned manual labor comes in to play. Which makes having a cheat sheet so helpful for that final cleaning.

The Grammar Queen said...

My, oh my! GQ feels as if she has died and gone to heaven! This guidance is outstanding, Glynna. You deserve a gold star!

No, at least three or four gold stars!

Oh, be still my heart!

Myra Johnson said...

Really, Glynna . . . spring cleaning??? Does anybody do that anymore??? I think my late mother-in-law was the last of the fanatical spring cleaners.

Manuscripts, however, are another story (excuse the pun). Great post here! I'm the world's worst for overusing pet words and phrases.

Oh, and, Mary, "all right" is the absolutely correct spelling, at least if you believe Grammar Queen. Here's what Merriam-Webster Online says.

Glynna Kaye said...

THANK YOU, GRAMMAR QUEEN! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, MYRA! I actually TRY to deep clean the house more than once a year (early spring and end of summmer). The PLAN is to keep up with it in tiny, day-to-day steps so there doesn't have to BE any massive deep cleaning events--but it all goes out the window several times a year when I'm nearing 2 book deadlines and again when I get hit twice a year by edits and galley review. But I just LOVE how it feels for those few, very fleeting moments when everything is company-ready! (Sandra -- do NOT expect to see that this weekend!)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Glynna,

Love this post. I've been hip deep in these kind of revisions for months now!

Let me say, this can be tedious work. Looking through every entry of a certain word, for example 'that', is so time consuming. It's teaching me patience and giving me eye strain! LOL.

Thanks for the list and the examples. Your list is a lot longer than mine, so I'll have to compare them.

Cheers,
Sue

Susan Anne Mason said...

P.S. Must get to the spring cleaning in the house one of these days! UGHH.

Glynna Kaye said...

I have to be out-of-pocket for a while, but I'll be back! So please continue to share your own 'cheat sheet' suggestions while I'm gone!

Glynna Kaye said...

GOOD MORNING, SUSAN -- Your comment came in just as I was signing out! :) Yes, this process really can be tedious--which I why I keep adding to my cheat sheet! Makes it go ever so much faster when you know specifically what you're looking for. I LOVE the "find" function in Word! (And UN-DO!)

Mary Connealy said...

BTW I think plants have rooted and begun to grow on top of my ceiling fan blades.

Is it the same as dusting if you just turn the fan on and let everything fly off?

Mary Connealy said...

Really Myra, All right is correct?

For some reason that annoys me.

But (grumbling) I'll do it. :( I think alright sounds sort of 'slangy' to me and that goes with cowboys.

Erica Vetsch said...

Yay, wonderful post.

I tend to have a different pet word or phrase for each of my books. Once it was 'leather' and it cracked my crit partner up. Leather chairs, leather blotters, leather carriage seats...everything was leather.

Debby Giusti said...

Erica, I do the same thing. A certain word will keep popping up in my manuscript.

Next story gets a new word.

Wonder why?

Guess my brain hooks onto a word that seems to work the first time I write it. Then I just grab that same word--or phrase--again and again and again.

Debby Giusti said...

Looking around my office and wondering if I should dust...

Nope!

Heading back to my WIP!

Lorna said...

Great list, Glynna, and I have a pet word/phrase for each book, too, Erica.

I always have to de-just-ify my manuscript. I just love the word just. It's just so perfect--until its time to polish my manuscript.

I also have to do a timeline check and make sure all the days are right.

Debby Giusti said...

One more thing...

I'm flying to Milwaukee on Friday! Whoo-hoo! For Barbara Vey's Reader Appeciation Luncheon on SAT and panel discussion Friday evening.

Guess who I'll see?

LYNDEE!!!

YAY! Can't wait.

Also Jennifer Tipton's mom!!! YAY! Her sister too!!!

How fun will that be!

Must pack, but must get pages written first.

Debby Giusti said...

Good point about getting the timeline right, Lorna! Something I need to do from the start of a new story. Instead, I work on the timeline later, after problems arise. GRRR!

pol said...

Hi Glynna,
Yep that is hibiscus, mine is white but wish I had a pretty pink one like that. when reading through the post on writing, it seems like you authors have an awesome job to write well for we readers. I appreciate my books more since seeing the post here.
Good luck Ruthy with all the rehab work, it will be worth the mess in the end when all is said and done.
Happy Spring to those of you that have it, still seeing snow in lot of states, April...can you believe it.
Paula O

Kav said...

Oh dear...I think my cheat sheet might need to be manuscript length! I'm sure the Grammar Queen is proud of you, Glynna! She'd put a dunce cap on me and sit me in the corner!

Elaine Manders said...

Oh my, I love cheat sheets. I used them in school, not to cheat but to study, I used them in work. Now I have about a dozen for writing and I'm adding this one. I'll have to consolidate them when I get back to editing.

My grammar bible says alright isn't a proper word, but I'm not sure which grammar god decided that. I just use it for OK.

I'm bad about the pet words and phrases, but my worst is cliches. I love chiches and my characters love them too. What are the odds?

Elaine Manders said...

Oh, I meant I use all right for OK, not that other word that's never all right for OK.

Jenny, I could have used your pain meds yesterday. I had a colitis attack and spent most of the day rolled up in bed like a roly-poly.

Missy Tippens said...

What a great cheat sheet, Glynna! I'm going to borrow it. You have most of the same words I do. And what a hassle to go through and change them!! But so worth it for a clean manuscript.

Vince said...

This seems like a funny day!

Debby: “Guess my brain hooks onto a word that seems to work the first time I write it. Then I just grab that same word--or phrase--again and again and again.” This is what we call in philosophy a self-verifying statement.


Mary: “Is it the same as dusting if you just turn the fan on and let everything fly off?" What kind of wimpy dust do you have up there in Nebraska? It takes a chisel to get the dust off Oklahoma fans. Dust should be make of sterner stuff.

Ruth: “Good luck Ruthy with all the rehab work, it will be worth the mess in the end when all is said and done.” What? Ruth’s in rehab! Were do we send flowers? Why wasn’t it on Facebook?

Glynna: I’ve already added this post and the ‘cheat sheet’ picture (after about ten attempts) to my Writing Resource Project in Scribner. All these great posts are only useful if you can consult them easily and as often as needed. This is one of the rare posts where I agree with everything and I’m guilty of all the same errors. I need this post and more.

My brain, as most people's, has a reality checker which corrects mistakes in the outside world. It adds colors underwater where colors can’t be seen by the human eye and it fixes all kinds of spelling mistakes as I read. This is just wonderful except when proof reading or writing a first draft. If only it would fix things when others look at them -- now that would be very useful.

That’s my biggest problem. I actually ‘see’ mistakes as being correct. To fight this I need to proof read backwards from the bottom of the page up to the first sentence. I also ‘edit for’ specific mistakes in layers. I’ll look for all the ‘you’s that need to be ‘your’s. Somehow my brain does not like adding an ‘r’ to the word your.

I just love your ‘cheat sheet’ because I’m guilty of over-using all those same words. However, I would change the name to ‘lodestone’. It’s not cheating if it’s an open book test and writing is an open book test. A lodestone is useful for finding your way in fog – a frequent problem when I write.

Vince

P.S. I’m getting a strong craving for another “Canyon Springs” book. By the way, I’ve had “No Plot? No Problem” for a few years now. Of course, this book assumes you’re a Pantser (I really like the word ‘Pantster’ better, like Teenster, but I just can’t get ‘Pantster’ to gain currency.)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good afternoon, ERICA! Oooh, you're like Sandra. A DIFFERENT word for every manuscript. You write historicals, so I can see why you used "leather" a lot!

Glynna Kaye said...

DEBBy -- Good choice to forget the dust and WRITE! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

LORNA -- "de-JUST-i-fy" -- I LIKE that catchy word. What is it about that word that we JUST stick it in everywhere? :)

Good point about the timelines. Yes, those are critical, too! I actually keep a calendar for my story with very brief bulletpoints as to what happened on what day. Sometimes in my final clean-up I discover that it's riddled with references to the WRONG day (for instance, I realize the day something happened was NOT a Sunday or Saturday when my heroine/hero would have been off work in the middle of the day. Or I have someone refer to yesterday as being Thursday when the current scene takes place on Wednesday. YIKES!

Glynna Kaye said...

So neat, DEBBY, that you get to go the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon! I hope you plan to blog about it when you return!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI PAULA O! A white hibiscus sounds so pretty!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI PAULA O! A white hibiscus sounds so pretty!

Glynna Kaye said...

KAV -- Don't feel bad -- I think Grammar Queen would put me in the corner, too, especially in first drafts!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Glynna, this is another fantabulous post.

The thing about editing is that it is much like writing. What is comfortable and organic for one person is not for another.

This is a wonderful tool to keep next to you when editing. Thank you.

Glynna Kaye said...

HELLO, ELAINE! Yeah, cliches can get out of hand and we use them without thinking because, well, the cliches say what we want to convey to the reader! I have to weed those out constantly or somehow have my character convey that THEY know it's a cliche.

The trick nowadays is that so many words (spellings) and punctuation that wasn't acceptable when I had them hammered into me in junior high are now totally acceptable. So I'm constantly having to look up those types of things.

Tina Radcliffe said...

The TEENSTER, stands amazed. Vince gives this post a two thumbs up.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, MISSY! It's really amazing how many of those words sneak into a manuscript. JUST glut it sometimes. I'm truly shocked when a word I thought I barely used pops up 20 or 30 times in a word search!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good afternoon, VINCE! I'm glad the post passed muster with you! You're SO right--we SEE things that aren't there when we're proofing our own work. We know what it's SUPPOSED to say and that's what our brain "sees."

"You/Your" is an excellent example. And there's a bunch of those types of words that we read right over the top of again and again.

Hmmm. "Lodestone." Never would have thought of that! Sounds more dignified than cheat sheet, doesn't it?

By the way, another Canyon Springs story will comes out in September, so you'll probably be able to get your hands on it by late August. (Earlier for those who subscribe to the reader service.) Then 2 more will be out in 2014, including my FIRST Christmas story! :)

Jeanne T said...

GLYNNA--I've only been to three of the Hawaiian islands. Each is so different! My in-laws live on Oahu--the most cosmopolitan of all of them. You have big cities and small towns, and lots of shopping, if you like that. Much more touristy than the others I've visited.

Kauai used to have a law (they still may) that no building may stand taller than the palm trees. It's more rural and has many beautiful places to visit. The Big Island/Hawaii has big cities, small towns, volcanoes, 11 different climates and is beautiful in its own right.

I can't pick one as my favorite. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

HI TEENSTER! :) It's a pretty day here in the mountains, so I'm betting it's GORGEOUS in the Valley!

I don't know what I'd do without my ever-growing cheat sheets. Because I have such a small window of time each day to write, it takes me a LONG time to write a whole book. So there's never enough time between "the end" and "send" to linger over the story like I'd really like to--but the cheat sheet helps catch some of the worst of it. LOL!

Glynna Kaye said...

Thanks for the Hawaii tips, JEANNE! I'm not big into shopping, so would probably enjoy beach time, good food and sightseeing what nature has to offer.

Glynna Kaye said...

I have to step out again, but will return later! Have a great rest of your afternoon!!

Playground Monitor said...

Greetings from rainy Alabama. :-( It was so warm and pretty last week.

It's been an alphabet day for me -- MD, X-Rays, an Rx and upcoming PT. My shoulder is bothering me (working all day and half the night at a computer doesn't help) but at least it's not anything requiring surgery again. I can handle twice weekly PT for six weeks.

I let a friend read my novella and she pointed out overuse of "but" and "and." I start too many sentences with them. Lots of clean-up there.

I have to be careful with punctuation too. I saw a funny on Facebook about the comma and how it can mean life and death. Let's eat, Grandma is quite different than Let's eat Grandma. ;-)

Back to the grind but I have a lovely vase of flowers on my desk to brighten this rainy day because it's Administrative Professionals Day.

Marilyn

Debra E. Marvin said...

Oh my , I definitely have the word Turn/ turned on my list. You'd think my characters were spinning tops (and no, spun should be used "very" sparingly)

Okay,Glynna, I have to add:
was, that, could and would. seemed to, looked, saw, watched, heard and wondered.

Nothing wrong with them but they often are flags for spots that can be improved!

While I'm here, I'm going to check out Sandra's post again.

Jenny Blake said...

yes we are in Celsius but I do understand farenheight

Glynna, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Today 25 April is ANZAC day which is a bit like your Memorial day. It is the day we remember the fallen diggers. It commemorates the landing in WW1 of the troups in Galipoli Turkey and its where the ANZAC spirit really started. They landed on the wrong area but they fought and won the respect of the other side. Its a national holiday and most towns will have a dawn service and parade. The bigger cities will have a much bigger parade etc. We remember all the wars and after the services the diggers will get together. Its a day we can pay our respects. I had a great uncle who died at Galipoli and another in Belgium in WW1. Its an important day for all Aussies.It gets more important to Aussies and New Zealanders each year. I have never been to a dawn service but am going today. And I know I will cry when they do the last post and the roll call of lost diggers. I tend to be overly emotional these days.
plus the fact I am not sleeping again.

Chill N said...

Glynna -- how much time do you have to hear about my 'cheat sheet'? Actually it's a small notebook. Seriously. I'm glad to say I'm using fewer of the old pages on a regular basis. A sign of improvement. Now if I could just stop adding pages ...

Some words I watch for that indicate I could use a stronger verb or 'show': walked, turned, stood, put, took, reached, and said.

Watching for 'as' and 'started.' Checking to be sure I've used the correct 'to/too/two.'

Be sure I use actions as much as possible instead of dialogue tags. Kill almost every sigh, shrug, mumble and scowl.

Oh, and be sure I use at least one sense (preferably more) per page.

That is the short, short, short list :-)

Nancy C

Natalie Monk said...

Wow! Such an awesome detailed cheat sheet for "Spring Cleaning" those manuscripts! I'll keep this handy when I dive back in. I'm sort of taking a break from the novel for a while, a little scared at the gnarles and snags lurking there. But soon I'll print it out and start detangling and deep-cleaning.

Thanks for these great tips, Glynna! Congrats on your upcoming release and your contract for two more! That's as much cause for celebration as I've heard all day!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Jenny, I know what ANZAC day is. There will surely be a big celebration on the 100th anniversary.

Meanwhile, spring seems to have its calender off by a month or two 'up here'!

And I'm supposed to be working on a synopsis. I've written it three times. It's still ugly and I'm still procrastinating...er , studying the craft of writing on Seekerville.

Sherida Stewart said...

Love your ideas for manuscript cleaning! I have most of your pet words. I'll add "smile"....everyone is SMILING in my Speedbo project. I have plenty of work to do! Please put my name in the drawing for the book. Thanks!

Sherida Stewart said...

Another thought....a check list for Vince's "rewards per page" would be valuable.

Jenny Blake said...

whats wrong with this picture I have been spring cleaning in Autumn.

Debra yes there are big celebrations set for next year.
Back from the dawn service. Quite moving. We even had a horse which is a descendant of the horse used in WW1. The rider had an official light horse brigade uniform. There was a large crowd there which was so good to see.

DebH said...

great post today.

i'm bad with "just" and "well" as in "Well, it's like this...". i also have those pesky "pet" words and most of the words on your lodestone (as VINCE says - i like his word)

wouldn't mind a chance at a copy of "No Plot? No Problem".

one of these days i'll actually have an MS complete enough to do the deep clean - but i do use these hints for writing challenges where you have 750 to 1,000 words. amazing how searching for this stuff tightens up that flash fiction.

Glynna Kaye said...

HELLO, MARILYN! Wish we had your Alabama rain here in the mountains of Arizona. Really dry and we're heading into the forest fire season of May thru whenever the monsoon season starts in July.

PT isn't any fun, but I'm glad to hear you won't be heading into another surgery.

I love the Grandma punctuation humor!

Happy Admin Professionals Day!!

Glynna Kaye said...

GREAT additions to the list, DEBRA! Thank you!

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome back, JENNY! Thank you for explaining ANZAC. You'd think I'd have heard of that before, but I hadn't. It sounds as if it will be a very moving dawn service.

I'm sorry, though, that you're not sleeping again. Do you think it's the pain meds?

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, NANCY C! It sounds as if you have a MASTER cheat sheet!! Thanks for sharing a few examples from it!

Those sighs, shrugs, mumbles and scowls are rampant, aren't they? Great additions to the list. I wish there were more options for "smile" and "gazed," too!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, NATALIE! Sometimes it really helps to take a break so you can face your manuscript with fresh eyes.

Thanks for the congrats! I'm excited to be writing more Canyon Springs books after the break I took last year to participate in the "Texas Twins" continuity series with 5 other authors. I missed Canyon Springs, but managed to make my heroine in "Look-Alike Lawman" be a native of Canyon Springs! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, SHERINDA! Ah, yes, SMILE! But at least your Speedbo-generated characters are HAPPY CAMPERS! :) "Grin" gets old, too, and often doesn't seem appropriate.

Excellent reminder to check Vince's rewards per page articles. I have those printed out and in my notebook, too!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, DEB H! Sometimes when I've needed a bit more "wiggle room" because I've already hit my word count, cleaning out "lame" words garners an amazing number of words you can make use of elsewhere.

Doing the shorter writing exercises is really helpful to learn how to write "tight." I've heard many who have a journalism background say that helped them to make sure every word counts.

Jenny Blake said...

Not taking anything now for the wrist. its aching today cos of over doing it. I think some of it is excitement and that my brain wont swtitch off. also think the more i am not sleeping the more my mind thinks it should so its no win situation.
I have the garden to where I want it (just need to get rid of the rubbish) I dont have alot to do inside its more computer work and some of that i have to wait for.
hopefully tonight will be better. Think I will have a nap this afternoon.

Glynna Kaye said...

I totally understand the too-active brain, Jenny! I've also tried to make a point of logging off my computer at least an hour (minimum) before I intend to go to sleep as I've heard the monitor's light can affect sleep quality. It's good to have the bedside clock's illumination covered up, too, so you're not aware of what time it is if you wake up in the night. Hope you sleep better tonight!

Donna said...

This list is going in my notebook for sure. I would never have thought of all of those tricky ones. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Please enter me for the book!

jubileewriter said...

This post was so helpful. Cheat sheet is a great idea. I am definitely interested in the give away.
Cindy Huff

jubileewriter said...

This post was so helpful. Cheat sheet is a great idea. I am definitely interested in the give away.
Cindy Huff

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, DONNA! I'm glad you found the post helpful!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good Morning, CINDY! I hope the post is something you'll find useful the next time you're ready for "deep cleaning"! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, DONNA! I'm glad you found the post helpful!

Pam Hillman said...

Love this cheat sheet! Thanks Glynna. Must keep this list handy.

Deb Raney offered a great online workshop several years ago and I've used her tips for rewriting before.

Rita Monette, Writer said...

Great post. Love the cheat sheet...though mine would have more than that!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Unfortunately, Glynna, my thought never turn to deep cleaning. LOL

I really need to study this post! Will be back. Sorry I missed it yesterday! I had a packed out day. :P

vonildawrites said...

I'd like a copy of Baty's book!

You have organized the editing process really well, and it doesn't seem like such an overwhelming task now. thanks!

Voni

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, PAM! I'll have to check and see if Deb Raney has any of her tips on her website -- or invite her back to Seekerville to share with us!

Glynna Kaye said...

RITA -- My real life "cheat sheet" has more on it, too. This was just the condensed version. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Consider yourself blessed if you never think of deep cleaning, MELANIE! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Thanks, VONI! I'm glad you found the post helpful!

Digging for Pearls said...

Great checklist. Please enter me for the book.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Janet Kerr said...

I already printed this one. It is fantastic.
Please enter me for the draw for the book. It sounds great.
Jan

LeAnne Bristow said...

I am printing out this post and hanging it in my writing area! Thank you! Also, please enter me in the drawing for "No Plot, No Problem."
And Glynna, I can't wait until September for your next Canyon Springs book! I love your Arizona set stories!

Tina Pinson said...

Well, I posted earlier, but it doesn't seem to have come through.

Oh well.

The cheat sheet is great. I always like to cheat and do so without guilt.

Kind of like writing… where I get to fabricate whoppers and not in get in trouble.

Lot of good info. Which i shall have to read through again.

Mary -- I like the word Alright too. I agree it sounds more like something a rugged cowboy would say.

Vince -- My cleaning tools of choice are a chisel and pledge.

Tina Pinson said...

I guess my comments are awaiting moderation. So if a gazillion show up at once. Okay maybe three, then I have an excuse.

If they don't show up the moderator might not have liked what I had to say.

:-)