Sunday, June 12, 2016

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

As most of you are aware, I'm branching out and beginning to work with different publishers. Each publisher I've worked with has a different way of doing things, including editing, which is where I'm at now in the process.

Over the years, I've developed my own list of words to not use ever, along with words to not overuse. I carefully go through my checklist of things to watch for as I finish up each manuscript. It's tedious work to do a "Find and Replace" for each of the "no-no" words, but no one said this was easy. I thought I had a pretty good system going, but as I was going through the editing guidelines for this new publisher, I came across more words to add to the list. This is why I prefer to work with multiple publishers. Not only do you widen your circle of author friends, you also pick up new ideas and tricks, all of which help make a difference in your work. 

The difference can be subtle. A word placed at a different point in a sentence, a weak word replaced with a stronger one, an extra word eliminated altogether to tighten the story line. Little things that make our work stronger. That's what we authors have to strive for in every sentence we write. Strong images, strong characters, strong writing.  You can teach an old dog a new trick.

And, as with everything, there are exceptions. There are some times when the "no-no" word has to stay in the finished version. But each time you make an exception, you'd better have a really good reason for it. 

I hope to finish up this round of edits later today and ship them off to the publisher. Then, I will turn my attention back to my YA historical, adding new "no-no" words to the list. 


  1. Editing is the most tedious part of writing a book. I am in the process of reviewing my final galley one last time and I have to psyche myself up to do it.

  2. I agree, it is tedious, but a well-edited book is worth its weight in gold. If you're in final galley stage, you're almost there. Congratulations!

  3. My no-no words list increases every book. Soon I'll have no words left to use at all! Haha ;)

    1. I know! My list keeps growing, too. I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes it's okay to break the rules, tho.