Edit, Revise, and Tweak - part 2

Research is an essential part of editing. If you are like me you have entered a variety of contests. And if you are like me you have received a multitude of comments concerning your research. Being a stickler for research I have hundreds of books lining my walls. I also have a variety of sites I utilize that help me with this research. Just like you I have found some more useful than others, and some more trusted than others. When I get a comment from a judge that questions my research I do verify it. Majority of the time I find I was right on the money, but there have been times when I was wrong.  I readily admit that this does happen.

I most appreciate when a judge even offers a website to verify my information. I have even laughed when they gave me the same website I used myself. Here is an example of research I checked thoroughly.  In one book, my main characters use the child's game - paper, scissors, rock (or as some people say - rock, paper, scissors) to resolve arguments. Because I knew people would question the validity of using such a game, I looked up the history of the game. I uncovered information to show this game, in some form or another has been used for centuries. Not only was this game played in Europe but China as well.  There are records showing this game being used as far back as the 5th century.

Through speaking with fellow writers, I have also come across some valuable sites that allow you to copy and paste your work into their program where they will highlight areas to fix grammatically.  I have been able to isolate passive voice quite effectively with this program. But, as with all programs - they are not perfect.  Just like humans, they make mistakes because they are designed by humans. Nothing replaces the human eye and human opinion. When someone reads my manuscript they can tell me if I hit the mark in areas a computer program cannot.  Did I captivate my audience? Did I hook the reader in that first page?

If you are like me, you always find something to tweak in your manuscripts, no matter how many times you read it over. Admit it - from the first time to the 50th time, you always find something to change. Why?  We are human and we continually seek to perfect ourselves. If it isn't a word, it's a sentence or paragraph.  Eventually we have to decide when it's finished and ready to send off. Eventually we have to let our baby go for their first walk and let it stumble and fall. And every once in a while, it won't fall. An editor or agent will pick it up, brush it off, and smile because it's exactly what they are looking for!

When that happens, all the editing in the world will be worth it. All those last minute edits will cause you to sigh in relief, knowing you did the best you could do and it was enough!  So keep editing and when you think you might be ready - you are.

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