Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SmartEdit is not that Smart and “The Schedule”

I am pushing through the editing of 12th Man 4 Death and even though I have my own specific system of checks and balances I wanted to try something new. Through one of the LinkedIn groups I belong someone suggested that SmartEdit was a great tool to help review and check your work (it’s free here). While I found it interesting it falls well short of what I need or what most writer/editors could use profitably. It is very time consuming.

After you load your manuscript into the platform it does a fairly good job of selecting out phrases, words, and adverbs. Then, in a type face too small to easily read, you can select and replace/fix as needed. WARNING: the work is not saved and from what I can decipher can’t be saved except by selecting all the text and pasting in a new Word file. Such bother. Additionally, it does not do this search in the order the book is written – selections are not chronological or even within the same parts of the manuscript, it does not highlight all the elements you are searching, or offer any replacements. I see great potential but it is a long way from being user friendly. It’s worth a look but BEWARE and don’t put your only copy of the manuscript in the thing – you may want to kill if there is a power outage.

The Challenges of Self-Editing
I am absolutely sure there are gremlins in the Word software. I can spend days going through the manuscript, correcting, searching, revising, changing, and even deleting. But when I come back to the MS with fresh eyes, I find even more. The mind is a cruel mistress; it WILL insert missing words as you read (silently or even out loud) and not mention it to anyone. When you go back, pesky conjunctions have fled the scene, s’s and ed’s have been added or deleted, and I am sure some words mysteriously have left to go on vacation. That is why when you are done find a great copy editor. They are worth the money (and Dennis, don’t get any ideas about raising your rates – see Dennis DeRose above) and expertise.

A few more days then off to the real editor. 

This is the best of the four thrillers I have written. The subject is timely (that can be good or bad depending), but I believe the story has legs long after the America’s Cup races in San Francisco are done next September 2013. Lots of selling days between now and then.

I try to keep my hand in all the parts of the process. Writing, initial editing, composing the type for the book and the cover art. There are a lot of pros and cons about this, but it is just the way I’m wired. It does help to expand the skill set beyond story and the actually manuscript. And does give a better understanding if that agent ever knocks on the door (or returns my emails). 

The book’s schedule I posted at the beginning of the year said editing in August, done and done.

I hope the ebook will be posted in mid-September followed by the paperback in late October.

BTW, if anyone wants to read a draft of the story in PDF form, drop me a comment. I am looking for readers and early reviews.

More Later . . . . .

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