This week I spent a lot of time learning to edit my work.
I know, I should be concentrating on writing, adding more content in pursuit of my NaNoWriMo goal, and I have, just not as much as I should have. Basically, a little bit of boredom set in on the writing spree and I ran out of easy scenes to add to my projects, so naturally, I turned to avoidance behavior. It was avoidance behavior with a goal, just not the primary goal.
Two things happened that keyed me into improving my editing chops. First, a friend pointed out an online tool called ProWritingAid.com that writers can use to evaluate a manuscript and have it provide a detailed analysis. The reports are pretty extensive and cover areas of writing I’ve never even considered before when editing my stories. Long sentences are identified, overused word lists generated, glue words highlighted, and dozens of other writing issues are identified and left to your discretion as to whether they should remain or be edited out. It only took evaluating a couple of my stories to see its benefit. I now expect to use it on all my future material before it leaves my computer.
The second stimulus I had this week is a new desire to create audiobooks of my stories. The idea is to expand where people might encounter them online and help drive them into purchasing more of my other stories. Creating audiobooks can be expensive, but the inexpensive way is to narrate them myself. So I started practicing on a story and immediately realized that those complex sentences that read just fine are tongue-twisting torture when trying to speak them aloud. They need even more editing to make the narration flow.
Now, one of the early techniques I learned was to speak a characters dialog aloud, to hear the person as others would, to get their speech patterns down, and to help tighten and focus the dialogue on what’s important. I do this all the time. Trouble was, I wasn’t doing it nearly as much with the rest of the text. Going forward, I’m going to make a more concentrated effort to speak aloud everything I write, to listen to its cadence, and generally get it in shape for narrating into an audiobook.
OTOH, I did manage to add a few thousand words to Alexiandrölarn this week, do some additional plotting, write down a couple more story ideas, and generally keep myself busy. That’s all a good thing too. With turkey day next week I’ll be away for several days visiting family and that will effect both my word count and editing pursuit. Then upon return the interior painters finally arrive for at least a week of home disruption as every room gets a new coat of paint.