Self-Editing and Critiquing #1

This week I have been attacking three things in my novel.

1)      Words which are not capitalized but should be.

2)      Two spaces after a period instead of one.

3)      Extensive unnecessary use of the words ‘that’ and ‘certainly’.

I thought these problems would be easy to fix. Capitalization and two spaces after the period are basically typos. I tried to go through my novel and take care of all of these problems before printing because I knew looking for them would annoy me. I did not do a good job, it’s still annoying me. To be fair it is hard to see if there are one or two spaces after a period while looking at a computer screen. On the printed page it is much easier. I have no reason for not seeing the lack of capitalization though. I hope to not have to deal with these problems again after this go through of the novel.

I’ve been getting rid of ‘that’ and ‘certainly’ during this read through of my novel. I had noticed they were being used to often in my writing when they weren’t needed. I decided to focus on getting rid of them since they can almost always be deleted outright to create a stronger sentence. No need to spend time rewriting or formatting the sentence, just delete the word and move on. It’s my kind of simple editing.

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2 Comments

  1. I’ll always use two spaces after a period, since that’s how I was taught, and it’s not right or wrong to use one vs. two spaces, but just a matter of personal preference. It’s just an automatic thing for me, over 20 years after I learnt it. I taught myself to only use one space when writing blog posts, since for some reason the formatting looks weird with two spaces, but everything else is the tried and true two spaces. For me, personally, it looks cramped and odd with only one space, while two spaces give the sentences enough room to breathe.

    I still use some unnecessary “that”s, but I’ve gotten a lot better at avoiding them altogether since I learnt about their unnecessariness four years ago. So many people use excess “that”s when speaking, so it can be difficult to suddenly take them out of one’s writing.

  2. I learned to use two spaces in a high school English class. I’ve taken to using them when writing papers, but not when writing on the internet. In my novel there were both single and double spaces depending on when, where, and with what I was writing. I don’t mind either way, I just want the novel to be consistent.

    I’m ashamed to admit I had over 1,243 instances of ‘that’ in the first draft. At least know I know to look for them. Rest assured there will be many fewer instances in the new version!

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