Friday, March 27, 2009

Editing Made Simple with Microsoft Word--ROFL.

I reached a big milestone on my first dreadful novel. I finished it. Well, I really finished the draft. I am truly of the school that says, "Get it all down on paper, and then fix it later." And despite the fact that my friends love it the way it is, I know it needs a lot of work.

I should let it rest. Letting it sit before I try to edit the thing would be the best way of finding my own mistakes. It's easier when the prose is not so familiar. So right now I should put it in a desk drawer--or in my case, close the file, and forget about it for a while.

I can't do that.

It haunts me now. It begs me to open it and look at it again. And really, it might not be that bad. It has been a while since I have taken a look at the early chapters. I started writing the thing late last summer. They should have rested long enough.

But even though I was really tired last night, I had to open it up again.

At first, I only made some simple changes, like centering all the chapter beginnings. But then, for some odd reason, I started going though the Microsoft Word grammar checker.

Editing with Microsoft Word is like having an idiot as a critique partner. You don't get much helpful feedback, but it is good for a few laughs.

My biggest problem is with random apostrophes. Yes, I do know how to correctly use an apostrophe. But when I'm typing quickly and the story is unfolding on my screen, I tend to place them randomly throughout my manuscript. And it is not an occasional problem. Nine times out of ten, I've thrown in an apostrophe that doesn't need to be there, or have put it in the wrong place. I might have to go through the whole thing once just searching for apostrophes.

But I really had fun reading some of MW's suggestions for fixing my manuscript.

For example:

MW choked on the word "ficus." I had placed a plastic ficus in the lobby of the church. MW has apparently never heard of a ficus. He wanted me to use "fichus" instead. Well, I looked it up. "Fichus" is a thin head-scarf. The idea of a giant plastic head scarf sitting in the middle of the lobby?

When I described a woman as having "heavily-permed hair," MW suggested that she had heavily-premed hair. That's some pretty smart hair.

It could be a branding thing, but when my hero tried to Google something, MW suggested that she goggled, or go ogled it. Go ogle that, why don't you? Hmmm. Is that where the name comes from?

And MW has apparently never heard of multitasking either.

I will have to admit, it saved the poor cat in my story from having several liters of kittens. (A typo, I assure you.)

The naughtiest moment came when I got to the part where Becky peeked in the doorway. MW wanted me to change it to "Becky peaked in the doorway." Um... not quite the image I had in mind.


  1. Hey, I feel special! There's a Becky in your novel :D Can't wait to read it someday!

  2. Becky, thanks for commenting.

    I hope you get the chance! Right now I'm in editing purgatory--a lonely place where you keep working on it, and it will never be good enough.

    Can you feel the frustration? And I just started!

  3. Barb, this is Deb, Aldebaran from the Monk boards, and our sojourn to LA. I finally figured out why I don't see your entertaining entries any more on LJ...kinda slow, huh, but I popped over to see if this is where you've been...and I have to say, if your book is as entertaining as even just this one entry, then you've got a winner! The "liters" of kittens is hysterical, as well as "peaking" in the doorway!

    I am bookmarking so I can find you again, and your list of writing sources and blogs is amazing!!! Reallly late, or I'd say more, but I'll stop by again when I get some time.