I've been working on what Lyrical Press calls "pre-edits" the last week or so. These are a collection of things the editors there want authors to go through before getting to the content or the copy edits. They have a pretty comprehensive checklist of things for us to look through, and while some I don't (thanks goodness) do, many of them did apply to me. The biggies:
Repeated filler words - my big ones turned out to be just, very, pretty, already, okay, and again. If you do a "Find" function in your word processing program, it will pull up each time the specified word is used. You might be amazed at how many times you do use those kinds of words - and everyone has their favorites. For the most part, they can be deleted or replaced. Keeping only a few will add to their particular impact, when they do show up.
Repeated actions - interestingly enough, I found this one when I didn't limit the Find function to "again" - which meant that "against" also showed up. And guess how many times I had my characters "leaning against" something?? It's one of those things that's tough to see objectively as the author of a work. So needless to say, I found other actions for my characters to do.
Overuse of italics (for internal thought) and em dashes - I do use both of these A LOT. And while I cut out quite a few instances of them, I kept some too. I'll be interested to see what my editor says regarding these. I mean, my characters think to themselves! They're introspective!
The nice thing about going through this process on a contracted work is that when I switch gears and work on my other projects, I'm more tuned into NOT committing these offenses as often. I hope.
One Other Note On Edits:
It's fascinating to me that one of my narrators for my audio books coming out this summer had to be replaced because she came down with a bad cold and it put the production of the book behind schedule. You never think about that kind of illness affecting book production!
One of my narrators (a healthy one) also emailed to clarify the pronunciation of a name in one of my books - which tickles me as well, because as authors we naturally know how those names are pronounced. But out loud? By someone else? I love hearing my books read aloud, by the way - such a cool experience.
Can't wait 'til they release this summer!!!
P.S. - Congrats to Mae Clair, the winner of my Facebook Fan Page April Showers contest!!! Thanks to all who participated :)