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Monday, October 3, 2011

Editing Under Hormonal Influence: A Translation Guide

Since I can't type on my novel at work, even on breaks, I printed the whole thing (minus the unfinished ending) and took it with me, hoping I would find some break time moments to do editing. Well, I got into the teens last night, but at the cost of some formality. When I read my margin notes, I could see certain, ah, influences that skewed the use and wording of traditional editing terminology. Eventually, I had to take notes on my notes, so I would understand what I meant when I wasn't rampaging through the text. So here I provide a translation guide for myself and for all who get the crazies every now and then:


Show, Don't Tell = The mantra of the ages in prose. Not as prone to this one as I used to be. Which doesn't say much.

B.S. = Cut out this passage or word

Whiny turd = Tighten internal monologue or flashback, or Cut and reveal through dialogue and actions. Consider story relevance.

Emo brat = Character's emotions are over the top and unrealistic to experience or gender. Rein in closer to reality.

Philosophical B.S. (P.B.S.) = Preaching, or interjecting personal opinions, OR character has slipped into an unnecessary, wordy aside in an internal stage whisper that detracts from the action of the story. It's like he's in a flippin' spotlight and all the other characters have frozen in place. Listen to Hitchcock, for cryin' out loud! Life, with the boring parts taken out!

Meh! = Weak sentence structure or word choice, or both. Punctuation determines how bad it is.

Really?? = What idiot wrote this crap? Number of question marks indicate how bad it is. Also, "WTH?" and "Stupid junk".

Again?? = Repetitive overuse of a word or phrase, either in the whole book or just in a passage. Number of question marks indicates how bad it is.

Sucks = Maybe salvageable. Also: "rewrite" or "fix it".

Doesn't suck that bad = Tweak a bit, and leave it alone.

Trite = Trite.

There. A distinctively Tamara approach to harshness in editing. In addition to the occasional new paragraph symbol, word substitution and punctuation adjustment, this is what I use. In the overview hard copy phase, this is the general editing that I do. I don't do crazy rewriting of every line because I'm writing longhand on a hard copy. But it does help me to see where a reader would get snagged and flag the passage for work later. So it works perfectly for me! :)



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