Fine-tooth comb: an attitude or system of thorough searching or scrutinizing

I’m getting my manuscript ready for #DVPit next week. It’s a scheduled Twitter pitch session for books by and about diverse characters. Since my book features characters from various races and ethnicities in the melting pot of Hawaii, it seems like a perfect candidate for #DVPit. I’ve come up with some sample pitches that I will post throughout the day. I was even able to get feedback from a fellow writer and it was really helpful. I like her versions of the pitches much better than my own.

So I need to have my manuscript, query, and synopsis ready in case any of the agents/editors following the hashtag are interested in reading more. I’ve been going through my manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. It’s ironic that I prefer typing to handwriting when I’m actually writing a novel because I much prefer editing by hand than on the computer. I mean, editing on the computer is super nice because you have tracking tools that let you easily exchange and edit passages. However, the proofreader in me is itching for a red pencil.

I remember when I worked at LDS Living and every two months, we’d have proofs to edit. They’d be on these huge poster sheets, two magazine-sized pages on one sheet of paper. I would do a run-through with the punctuation and grammar and formatting, and then my editor would do a run-through. Then we’d do it again and make the changes on the computer.

I’m tempted to print out my manuscript, but now that it’s double-spaced, it’s like 450 pages long and I hate to waste so much paper. Editing on the computer, it is!

Some things I’m noticing: there are certain words and phrases I like to repeat. A lot. Examples: “smirk,” “blush,” “giggle,” “eyes meeting,” “handshakes,” etc. I’ve tried to go through and change some of the references to add a bit of variety, as well as take out some of the cliches. Sometimes I’ll come across a passage I haven’t read for a while, and my reaction could go one of two ways: “Wow, that’s actually pretty good/clever,” OR “What was I thinking when I wrote that? It’s pretty crappy.”

Also, I’m a big proponent of commas, specifically the Oxford comma. C’mon, people. Get with it.

Unfortunately, my love for commas can be a bit too much. I have to force myself to pare down to allow for the flow of words.

Since I stopped working in the publishing world about 9 years ago, I haven’t kept up to date with the guidelines for various writing styles. That’s what professional editors are for. Still, I want to get my manuscript in the best shape so that I don’t create a ton of work if (WHEN) someone wants to represent and publish my book. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *