Not much in the way of editing happened during the night as after the events of the morning–coffee followed by brunch with three beers–I was in a lazy mood that compelled me to binge on Breaking Bad until the end of the Season 4 episode Problem Dog. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do something useful–
While I was out getting nice and relaxed–
–and as I enjoyed the outside environment I was checking my updates on my phone, which means I’m now just as annoying as all those other people who do so. One of these updates came from my long-time reader, blogger renxkyoko, and she had something to tell me:
‘By the way,cassie, since you’re editing….. I guess you missed this… ” Are you tried ?” to ” Are you TIRED “?’
Yeah, I did miss that. One of the reasons for missing that is because I have a slight case of dyslexia that causes me to transpose letter a lot of times, and even when I read things as one word, sometimes I’m actually reading it wrong. This sucks when I’m writing as well, because I should know my tried from my tired, but I tend to blow it most of the time.
So I made a note to check the manuscript to fix this when I returned home, so after getting back to the apartment about two PM, that’s exactly want I did.
Scrivener has an easy search function: you can type in a word in the box next to the Inspector button in the upper right of the program and Scrivener shows you every place where that word existed.
Now, the above image is done after I cleaned up the document, because–see that list of scenes on the left? When I did this the first time that list was three times as long. That’s a lot of trieds, let me tell you.
I used the find and replace option to locate the occurrences of tried, and one of the things Scrivener does is highlight said word no matter how many you have in a text box, which is what my scenes are. Here’s what it looks like in the first scene on this list:
When I went through this I saw a hug number of trieds: “Kerry tried–” “Annie tried–” “He tried–” “She tried–” Holy shit, you know? Way too many occurrences of the word, not to mention it’s so freaking passive a phrase that it drove me crazy.
With the trieds identified I set out to make them far more active voice, because you shouldn’t be trying, you should be doing. What’s the thing that old grumpy green muppet from a swamp planet says?
If the characters are trying they aren’t doing. “Kerry tried not to look at Annie–” No, he should either look away or look towards her. “Annie tried to craft her spell–” No, Annie succeeds or fails while crafting magic. “Emma tried to get Kerry’s attention–” Well, yeah, she’ll try, but she should have waved or call his name or throw her arms around him, though she shouldn’t take that last action in Annie’s presence if it’s her intention to keep her blood inside her body.
I spent a good hour going through the manuscript finding all the “tried” stuff and rewrote it so it was either do or do not. There was no trying, it was all doing. And that’s from my writing the first draft that way, but there wasn’t an excuse for leaving it in during the revision. Now it’s out and I’ve made a note of keeping an eye on that stuff, since I’m certain I’ll find it in B For Bewitching as well.
There are other ways the Scrivener search function works besides just looking or words and phrases. For example:
You can search for titles, for labels (what’s first draft, what’s revision, and so on), and most importantly, keywords. I can assign those to scenes and then used that information to search back through the document to figure out where something is when I need to reference it for a future scene. For example, if I want to know the scenes that have to do with school evaluations, I assign “Evaluation” as a keyword, then tell the search function to look for keywords, and–
This is an easy one, and I could have just as easily said to look for that word in the title. But as I go on there are a lot of different words to set up: “Dreams”; “Visions”; “Sorcery”; “Morte”; “Birthdays”; “Presents”. It’s all there. Then if I’m in my C Level novel and I need to know about a present Kerry gave Annie and see the background on that, I pull up the A and B Level novel and keyword search for those scenes. So rather than keep all this crap in my head and then have a good idea where to look for things when needed, I just search for keywords.
See? Even though it was a bit of a boozy afternoon, that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn something. All I needed to do was a little . . . searching.
And not to try, but to do.