Saturday, 23 April 2011

I Have To Share This Editing Tip

I have to share this! Possibly you already know it, but if you don't, you'll love it.

Morton Gray, bless her, gave me this link to Serenity Wood's blog post about Editing. It's great! You must read it. (That's my other tip - my tip is below!)

To be honest, in my editing, I've already been highlighting my 'was' words and then trying to remove some. You can't always remove them all, but sometimes you realise you can make stronger text by thinking about it a bit longer than you probably would have done while bashing out your first draft.

Anyway, I've just realised, looking harder at the 'find and replace' function in Word, that you can find words, and replace them in font.  So I have now changed all my black 'was' and 'that' words, to red ones!

e.g. put 'was' in find, and 'was' in replace, then click on 'more' so you have all of your options showing, and click on at the bottom (find) 'font'. Now change the font colour! And replace all! Genius! 

I kept doing the 'find', 'highlight all' but it would remove the high lights once you'd edited a bit. And frustrated the hell out of me! Now I can see all the words I need to search out and destroy.  Will now do the same for 'just', too.

And later, upon editing my second, third or fourth draft and needing remove some words I like to use a bit too often, I will use this function again!

This means my editing isn't finished until all words are the colour black.


  1. Yes, find and replace is great but it does have its drawbacks.
    I'd written a story im first person and wanted to change it to third so I used f&r to change "my" to "her".
    Then found that every word containing the letters my now had her instead. So, for instance, enemy was now eneher. :(

  2. I like that idea. I've had similar problems to Gail with the find and replace so I'm definitely going to use your idea in future.

  3. Ah, yes, the only way not to change everything would be to go through it individually, rather than click the 'replace all'.

    I just thought the colour coding thing could help you identify quickly the words that you're over using. So, by putting my MS into Wordle, it providing my overused words, I can now go high light them in the document and find them easier.

    Once all the 'red' is changed to 'black' I know I've done my editing. Obviously, it'll need other stuff too. But it helps in reducing those pesky was's :D

  4. Hi Teresa! Thanks for the mention. I too have a search and replace story. Decided to change a character's name from Dick to Derek and ended up with Charles Derekens' A Christmas Carol. Another time changed Jack to Jake and hero ended up wearing a Jakeet. :(

  5. Serenity, no problem. I loved your editing tips, and I'd already been working on my was's but needed an easier way of highlighting them.

    I have done the find and replace all and found funny words because of it. Luckily spellchecker then gives me that red squiggly line :D


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