Monday, July 14, 2014

Fighting PPP (Pedantic, Plodding Prose) Rule Number Five: Look for unnecessary words or phrases

If you’ve been following this series of steps as you’ve edited your own work-in-progress, your story is looking pretty good right now.  The prose is tight and the grammar is perfect.  The final steps are like a fine-grain polish on a piece of rare silver.  The result will be stunning.

In Chapter Four of SEEING MAGIC I wrote
“No,” I demanded.  “No more secrets.  I hate secrets.  Tell me what you know about my family.”  I almost shouted at him but realized immediately my anger should be directed at Mom, not Evan, so I softened my tone and pleaded, “Please…tell me what you know.”

Pippa from Authonomy suggested
“you probably don't need 'and pleaded, ' as her first word is please”

In Chapter Five I wrote
“Exactly what time is it?”  I grumbled as I tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes.  I sat up and that’s when I realized the pain liniment had completely evaporated.  The whole left side of my body hurt…a lot.

“It is…6:30 AM.”  Evan walked right into the bedroom.  For the second time, he’d entered my bedroom without permission.  First, I checked my pajamas.  I tended to twist them up when I slept.  I pulled at my top so it didn’t cling to my chest, then I yelled at him.

“Don’t they teach you to knock first in West Virginia,” I snapped.

Again, Pippa suggested
“You could possibly lose 'my bedroom' as you've just told us he walked into the bedroom.
Also lose the 'I snapped' at the end of 'Don't they teach you....' as you've just said she's yelling.”

Searching for these final touches on a well-written manuscript is a painstaking process.  I suggest the following:
1.      Don’t edit for more than an hour at a time.
2.      Sit in a comfortable chair with good lighting.
3.      Edit on hard copy, using a larger font, which will be less strain on your eyes.
4.      Be proud of what you’ve already accomplished.
Good Luck!

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