Organized Wording: Whether A Student, Blogger, Business Person, Or Nanowrimo | Giftie Etcetera: Organized Wording: Whether A Student, Blogger, Business Person, Or Nanowrimo

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Organized Wording: Whether A Student, Blogger, Business Person, Or Nanowrimo

I am smack in the middle of writing my second novel. My first novel got written during Nanowrimo last year, but is not ready to publish. This year's novel, though, is really good. (It's a romance. Okay, it's a little racy. But just a bit.) I actually am starting to believe that I might find a publisher!

I'm also blogging almost daily, writing e-mails to my fellow parents as room mom, and writing cover letters for job applications. Writing is a part of my daily routine. And while I use my planner to write longhand, I generally draft longer stuff by typing it in Word. I've shown you in the past how I track blog ideas and posts or ideas and word counts for Nanowrimo in my planner, but today's blog is a little something different.

It's about how I keep typing, even when writing gets difficult, in a way that ensures fewer mistakes.

The key is to create some space at the end of the document for notes and ideas. A simple [Control/Enter] (pressed at the same time) after the last words in a document creates a hard break at the end of the document.

After the hard break, I put a list of edits. As I am writing my document, if I keep having a question, like whether to use effect or affect, I simply add that to the edit list. I don't waste my time looking up the rule or double checking the spelling of the characters' names. Later, when I come back and edit the document (whether a 50,000+ word novel or a 2 page e-mail to parents), I will check for those things. It's a real time saver.

Next, I create highlight codes. Basically, I simply highlight parts of the document in blue, yellow, green, or red, to help me find things that I want to deal with later.

(I only copied the text below to help you see how I highlight, without revealing more than a sneak peek of my novel to you. Normally, I would only keep the key to the colors at the end of the document and highlight within the document itself.)

Blue stands for research. Let's say I am using the words of a song in my novel and need to make sure I used the correct words, that the song was from the right time period, and that I credited the songwriters correctly. I simply highlight the text of the song (in the main document) in blue to indicate that I need to do research later. That way, I don't have to stop writing just to make sure. Sometimes, the research is just to check for consistency within the document itself. Did the main character have a brother or a sister? Blue says research to me because I am a lawyer and we use the Blue Book of legal citation more than any other book while writing legal documents.

Yellow indicates things that need to be edited later. For example, I'm always forgetting the rules for quotation marks. These often get yellow highlights as I write. I think of yellow as slow down, so sense this lets me avoid slowing down, this makes sense to me.

Green indicates ideas or outlining that I do not have time to write out that very second. Green makes sense because these ideas help me "go" on with the writing later.

Finally, I use red to indicate where I stopped writing. With two kids and a constantly ringing phone, this is really important.

(Note the REAL sneak peek of my unedited novel in the picture below.)

A final caution about writing - don't worry about being perfect. That's what editing is for! And don't be bothered if you can never remember how to quote or whether to use that or which or even if you cannot spell their. (I seriously have to look that darn word up every single time.) I made a perfect score on the ACT in reading and an almost perfect score in English. I cannot spell their. No matter how smart or talented you are at writing, there is something you struggle with. These codes help you deal with those struggles, without slowing down your writing.



Alicia Sparks said...

This is a really good plan!

yezenia said...

I feel cheated that the sneak peak wasn't one of the racy bits.
Great tips for not stopping the flow of writing. The Ctrl+Enter is new to me. I feel like Im missing too many shortcuts. Must add this to my research list.

Anonymous said...

It will take time to understand the process, but no I will over time,