The Midwife’s Confession is due a week from tomorrow, so if I blog this week at all, it will not be with anything profound! Right now I’m writing drafts three and four at the same time. Hard to explain, but that’s what I’m doing. (Keeper and Jet are helping me organize the mess of paper on the floor of my office).
To simplify, I’ve gone over the entire second draft in manuscript form and made changes by hand. Now I’m putting those changes, chapter by chapter, into the document on the computer. After 50 pages or so, I take a break from the computer, print out the part of draft three I’ve just created, work on that by hand, put those changes into the document, thus creating draft four. Get it? No? I can’t imagine why not.
Meanwhile, John is reading draft four as I turn it out, jotting down what works for him and what doesn’t. Once I’m done with draft four, I’ll take a look at his comments and create draft five. Then I’ll do the read-aloud. All this means no sleep for Diane this week!
So what does this have to do with the title of the blog post? Well, as I go through the manuscript, I constantly find words I think I’ve overused. I jot dup above the word. Dup stands for duplicate. Then when I input the changes into the document on the computer and I come to one of those words, I do a “find” to see how many times I’ve used the word and also, to make sure that different characters don’t use the same unique word. For example, if one character always says she’s “psyched,” I want to make sure another character doesn’t say the same thing. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from my brother Rob’s blog. He’s blogging here about his own writing:
First I check for the words I tend to overuse. They are usually the bits of physical punctuation that fit between lines of dialog, like frown, shrug, and sigh. (My sister Diane Chamberlain says that the characters in her novels tend to wince too much, which suggests that while being in one of my works is boring, being in hers is actually painful.)
That just cracks me up!
Anyhow, I’m going to get back to drafts three and four right now. I’ll check back in later this week. Have a good one!