Friday, November 4, 2011

Changing It Up

            So, the back and forth thing really hasn’t gelled in my mind, so I’m taking the easy way out and just tossing up a quick tip.  A day late.
            Man, I’ve got to be honest.  The new Blogger is not working for me at all.  It’s such a radical change behind the scenes here.  It takes twice as long to do anything because they’ve needlessly spread everything out, and it’s just hard on the eyes.  Who thought orange on white was a good color scheme?
            Anyway...
            I don’t know about you, but I tend to write in Times Roman, single-spaced.  It flows a little easier on my eyes.  It also lets me have more of the story there on the page in front of me.  It’s just my thing.
            Now, speaking of change (as we were), there comes a time when it has to go into the correct format for submissions—Courier 12, double-spaced.  And I don’t do this at the very end.  I do it at the start of my last or second to last draft.
            Changing it like this forces my eyes to look at it differently now. Unlike Times Roman, Courier is a proportional font—it uses the same amount of space for every letter, so an I on the page uses the same area as an M or a W.  You could actually lay out a Courier page on a grid and it would all line up.
             When I reformat my manuscript, all the words sit differently on the page now.  Their spatial relationships shift.  Lines don’t end in the same place.  Because of the spacing, the words themselves look different.  Check it out.

See how different these two lines look?
See how different these two lines look?

            What this means for me is that I’ve got a chance to look at my writing fresh.  Which means another chance to look at it with a critical eye.  Since I’m not being distracted (so to speak) by the familiarity of words and sentences that I’ve seen a dozen times, it lets me catch things that could be tightened up or are a bit repetitive.
            Even after a ton of slashing, I cut another two thousand words out of -14- after I switched formats.  So many things stood out now as excessive verbiage or unnecessary descriptors.  I’d made a good five passes at the manuscript at that point, but none of them really popped until I looked at it like this.
            So try changing things up and see if it helps your next round of editing.
            Next time, I should have this other post figured out.
            Until then, go write.

1 comment:

  1. You're so right about this, Peter. I do this all the time. Also, under page format--it helps to change the page color. You can switch to off-white to create the illusion that you're not reading against an LCD backlight.

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