Now that I’ve edited from my critique group all of their great insights, it’s time to re-read my manuscript.
But first, last clichés:
Bag of tricks— Use of one’s entire resources. Goes back to the bag of the itinerant magician, which contained all of the items needed to perform his tricks. Dates back as far as LaFontaine’s fables (1694), where a fox carries a sac de ruses. Especially common in Victorian literature.
Truth to tell— Where you speak frankly and honestly. Another version of to tell the truth and it dates from the mid-1300s. Both phrases emphasize a statement, i.e. “Truth to tell, I hated that book.”
Spit and polish— When you use great care for a spotless and smart appearance. Originated in the armed services, where one used spit to hastily clean for an unexpected inspection. Term also came to mean more attention to appearance than to actual working efficiency. In WWI, “Spit and polish! We’re winning the war,” equaled a sarcastic expression used by those in front lines to the concerns of career officers sitting behind desks in the war office.
How many did you find?
So how am I re-editing my manuscript? First, I don’t want to run around in circles. I have a plan. I’ve gone through the entire book and I underlined all the verbs, adverbs, repeats, and questions in different colors. I used colored markers and in one color highlighted all of the action verbs, another color for passive verbs, another color for adverbs, another for repeated verbs or words/sentences on same page or page before or after, and another color for questions I might have on anything in my manuscript.
What questions? Well, if I couldn’t make heads or tails out of something I said, then I highlighted it to come back to later to correct.
Now, that I’ve highlighted all of those things, I’m re-reading the book by perusing the highlights, and fixing the repeats, making the passive verbs more vivid. For example: I had been going to go= I went. This changes my manuscript into reading like a man of few words.
You want your manuscript to be filled with action verbs, easy to understand, and creates emotion. Mark my words, this will all be worth it in the end. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but you want your book to be the best you can write. What will I do when I finish this process? I’ll read it backwards to catch any sentences that don’t make sense. Then I’ll send it to my editor to read.
Until next time,