But now I hate purple. Thanks to some amazing editing partners I’m awash in it. I’ve killed three of my own pens trying to fix the mess of a manuscript I have. But looking back on all the work over the past two years I feel proud of the manuscript I have. I’ve learned a ton about grammar and spelling in the process and I’d like to share some of the one’s I encountered reguarily in my edits.
Problem Words- These are words that are spelled correctly but I meant it to be a different word. Some examples: Stared vs Starred, definitely vs defiantly, and loose vs lose. It’s easy to fall into this trap and skim over these mistakes. Be watchful.
Comma Placement- I think I drove a few of my friends insane on this one. I still don’t know the real rules for commas. However, after 300 pages of adding them, I have a better feel for it. Use your edits as a test to improve yourself. As an exercise, try to add the commas yourself, then check back with your edits and see how you did. Look for patterns you can use in the future.
Sentence Tags- Have you heard of a dialogue trap? I hadn’t, but it happens when you are flying through your dialogue, and you follow the same pattern repeatidly. Some examples: “blah blah,” he said. “blah blah,” she said, this is an AB patern (A is dialoage and B is the tag). Instead you should vary it BA, AB, ABA, you get the idea.
Repetition– We all have a handful of words we use as our go to. It’s not intentional. But most composition software has a word counter. It tells you your most common words in any given piece. Keep an eye on this to add greater variety to your prose.
I know my manuscript isn’t absolutely perfect. But it’s really close. Find your issues and watch for them, purple pen in hand.
Always remember: Done is better than perfect.
2 thoughts on “I Used to Hate Red Pen”
My main issues are adverbs…I love em’, but every craft book/resource advises to use them with extreme caution. Also looking…my characters are always looking everywhere and at everyone. I seriously need to cut back on all of my “glances,” “studies,” and “peers at”. xD
But, that’s what editing is for~ :p
Nice post, very informative!
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You should read Stephen King’s opinions about adverbs – it’ll cure you from using them FOREVER!
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