Tag Archive | aspiring author

Editing out 3,500 Bad Words

I didn’t know the extent of my reliance on ‘bad words’ until I started the editing process. Actually, that’s not entirely true – I do a lot of presenting in my ‘day job’ and I recently realised I use the word ‘so’ instead of ‘um’ when I present.  But one can be forgiven for the odd filler word here and there when talking in front of 200+ people. Those filler words are far less acceptable in the written format, however.

I’ve already completed two edits of my MS, Love en Pointe. The first was a read through immediately after I typed those famous words ‘the end’ on the last page of the Word document. I picked up a whole lot of types born out of the mania that was NaNoWriMo and fixed some clunky sentences. After I received feedback from my trust beta readers, I completed a more thorough edit by further weeding out typos and playing around the with order of a few scenes towards the beginning of the story. I also re-wrote one of the key scenes to strengthen the conflict.

At this point I thought my MS would be looking pretty good, I have another scene to write from scratch and a few character elements to tidy up.  I also thought I had managed to weed out my nemesis word ‘just’ (seriously, I use it in every other sentence whether I’m writing a romance novel or an email.) Then I found this fantastic blog post from Cara Bristol about letting your computer edit out the ‘bad words’ (seriously, if you’re editing go and read that post.) Some such bad words include; just, really, totally, try, tried etc

I ran through Cara’s list and did a few ctrl+f searches, it appeared that my eyes had managed to glaze over a further 51 instances of ‘just’ even after I made a concerted effort to weed the suckers out! For shits and giggles (and because I’m a massive nerd) I typed all of the bad words into a spreadsheet and recorded how many times they came up in a ctrl+f search.

In total there were 3,578 bad words left in my MS after two edits. Three thousand, five hundred and seventy freaking eight.


 … that’s rad

After I threw a small tantrum, defiantly watched crap on YouTube and pouted at my screen for longer than is healthy,  I have started the long task of weeding out the bad words.


Have you ever counted up your bad words? Are there any words in particular that keep popping up when you write?


5 Things to do instead of editing – a procrastinators guide

I mentioned recently that I am going through the editing process for the first time. I’m polishing my manuscript (Love en Pointe) for submission, but I’m itching to get back to ‘writing’ with the kind of abandon that only works for a first daft.

I know editing is an important part of the process. It’s what helps to make a story shine, but I must admit that hours and hours of wordsmithing sometimes does my head in…



 Hence, here are 5 things to do when you should be editing but aren’t

  1. Housework – I know I’m procrastinating when the urge to do some washing hits me. I can’t possibly sit down to edit with a sink full of dirty dishes or an overflowing wash basket is looking me in the eye.
  2. Instagram (or Pintrest, We Heart It…any site filled with pretty pictures) – visual creatures unite on these website, and they provide for hours and hours of excellent procrastination time. I’ll just look at one more page of pretty nail[polish before I start editing…
  3. Online Shopping – ahhh ASOS, how many times I have been spending my money instead of editing. Same goes for Etsy, Book Depository and Amazon – retail therapy is a legitimate therapeutical activity…isn’t it?
  4. Looking at pictures of grumpy cat – aka getting stuck in the meme hole. Also in this category are trawling through hilarious pictures of LOL Cats, Overly Attached Girlfriend / socially awkward penguin / success kid / fail memes,  pictures of daschunds, funny GIFs and anything on Tumblr.
  5. CSI – and general TV watching which I class as ‘character research’. I have a weakness for crime shows with acronyms so CSI, NCIS, Law & Order SVU, and occasionally (if I want to play a drinking game) CSI Miami for it’s inadvertent use of humour are at the top of my list.

Honourable mentions go to: reading (a totally worthwhile activity whether you’re editing or not), doing The Age quiz on my iPad, bossing my husband around while he plays Resident Evil (I always know the right way to get away from Zombies and he just wastes all our ammo), making my second/third/fourth cup of tea, and stalking people on Facebook.

In all seriousness (just for a second and then I’ll get back to being a clown) I’m spending a lot of time editing at the moment. It’s a tough activity but one I know will be so worthwhile to my manuscript. However, when you’ve read the same sentence five times and the words have lost all meaning, you just have to tear your eyes away and do something else.

What do you do when you’re procrastinating from your work? Anything you’d like to add to the above list?

NaNoWriMo – 25k and counting

I hit the halfway mark to my 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo today!!! The great news is that I reached 25k on day 12, meaning I’m a few days ahead…the perfect buff to counter the busy weekend ahead.

So far the experience has been great and I’ve learnt a lot about myself, my habits and all the things which I normally allow to get in my way. Considering that ‘in the real world’ I’m the sort of person who plans everything out to the nth degree (ask my husband, I drive him crazy by planning out our weekends to fit the most amount of stuff in), to start NaNo on day 1 with little more than a vague idea of the hero and heroine of my book and get to half way is pretty damn amazing…if I do say so myself.

So far, I’ve found the following things the be really helpful in keeping me on track:

  • Having someone to be accountable to – in my case, this is my husband. He asked me daily what my word count is and pushes me to get an extra 500 words in when he thinks I’m slacking. Sometimes you need that person who’s going to give you a kick up the butt – at least I know I do!
  • Coffee – don’t think this needs much explanation
  • Surrounding myself with books –  I mean this in the literal sense. At my desk I have a stack of books facing me, so whenever I feel like procrastinating I have a visual reminder of my goal
  • Tracking my progress – I do this via the NaNo site and there’s something about seeing the little graph go up and up that spurs me on
  • Find others who are doing NaNo – I read the forums on both the NaNo site and also the Harlequin community where they have a group for NaNo writers. Seeing others progress both inspires and stokes the competitive fire


awesome cartoon, frighteningly accurate – source

Best of luck to all other NaNo participants, if you’re doing NaNo and writing romance leave a comment below so I can follow along with your progress 🙂