Invisible Words


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I got my edits back last week for the short story that will be published next spring. My editor didn’t have much to say in her email – but this one particular blurb got me:

The biggest area where edits are needed is the elimination of the over usage of the word ‘and’.   In particular sentences starting with “and”.  You can eliminate most of them by re-wording the sentence. Of course you need to keep some of them, so please don’t feel that I am asking you to get rid of them all.

To be honest, I never really worried too much about the word “and” – it’s just one of those invisible words, right? I never even noticed myself using it. Well, after my editor highlighted them all, it was amazing. And slightly embarrassing. Just how many “ands” can you have on one page? Um….WAY too many. I, of course, do the typical search for my overused words – was, there, eye, sigh, etc, but And? Nah, that’s not a word I have to worry about. It’s invisible to people.

And then I looked at my story again. There were many places where it wasn’t necessary. It was a filler word, or a connector that wasn’t needed. I was using it for “voice” but who wants your voice to be the over usage of And??? There were places I could re-write and make the story stronger, make it flow better without it. Places where it just didn’t add anything to what I was trying to say. So I cut and cut and rewrote and cut some more.

But overall, editing the story was fairly straight forward. The editor didn’t have many comments on the story itself – there weren’t half a dozen places I needed to re-write, or explain. The characters remained consistent and the story made sense. Phew, not too much to juggle.

I sent back my changes, and I realized I’d gotten a little too precise. The editor actually added back a couple of my cuts! And then we were done. The editor passed along my manuscript to the next group of people. And this is where I shudder and start to panic – Line Edits! While I try to keep my MS fairly clean, I have a feeling the next round won’t be nearly as easy! Now I’m just waiting for an invisible punctuation mark to bite me in the ass!

2 Comments

  1. Line edits drove me up the wall!

  2. Ugh. I am not looking forward to them at all. I suppose it's a necessary evil, but I don't have to like it 🙂