Revising: Whole MS Searches

Posted by in Writing

Hiya fellow PitchWarriors! I’ve started a list of “whole MS searches” to help me in the revision process!

HELP ME COMPLETE IT!

build

GENERAL

  • And then (one or the other!)
  • Then (to be replaced with “and” when possible)
  • Began/begin/begun
  • Start
  • Really
  • Very
  • That
  • Just
  • Realize
  • Rather
  • Quite
  • Somewhat
  • Somehow
  • Herself
  • Himself
  • Back
  • Moment
  • Could
  • Would
  • Should
  • There were / is / are
  • Every
  • Across

PREPOSITIONS

(Looked down at her feet = Looked at her feet)

  • Down
  • Up
  • Out

ACTIONS/BODY PARTS

(Check for redundant words – shrugged shoulders, nodded head, etc.)

  • Nod
  • Shrug
  • Breath/ed
  • Inhale
  • Exhale
  • Smile
  • Grin
  • Eyes
  • Face
  • Hand
  • Chest
  • Stomach
  • Heart
  • Jaw
  • Walk
  • Step
  • Glance
  • Gaze
  • Glare
  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Turn

QUALIFIERS

(Make sure all purposeful or voice)

  • Maybe
  • Almost
  • Sometimes
  • Probably
  • Partly
  • Often
  • Might
  • Just
  • Quite
  • Mostly
  • Seemed
  • Well

ADVERBS

  • Hemingway App (Check for all)
  • Some particularly useless ones: {See what I did there? Har har har}
    • Slightly
    • Barely
    • Totally
    • Completely
    • Absolutely
    • Literally
    • Definitely
    • Certainly
    • Probably
    • Actually
    • Basically
    • Virtually

DIALOGUE TAGS

  • Check that all dialogue tags are necessary, replace with action tags if possible
  • Said
  • "Said with a" (for "said with a grin", etc.)
  • Asked
  • Replied
  • Assured
  • Answered
  • Agreed
  • Confirmed
  • Insisted

PASSIVE VOICE/FILTER WORDS

  • Was
  • Were
  • Before
  • Seemed
  • Appeared
  • Watched
  • Understood
  • Wondered
  • Pondered
  • Looked (may need to pair w/pronouns for ease of search)
  • Saw
  • Heard
  • Smelled
  • Felt
  • Knew
  • Noticed
  • Thought
  • Realized
  • Try / Tried

PUNCTUATION

  • !
  • … {love me some overuse of ellipses in dialogue}
  • (Check all en / em dashes)
  • (Check for extra spaces!)

FOUR LETTER WORDS

(Make sure they’re not overused... I guess)

  • Sh*t
  • H*ll
  • D*mn/godd*mn
  • F*ck
  • B*tch
  • B*stard

PERSONAL ISSUES

(Things I overuse/suck at)

  • Tuck {seriously I used this word so many freaking times}
  • Chew (replace some with bite)
  • Exchanged

PROJECT-SPECIFIC ISSUES

(For consistency with things like possessive plural, etc.)

  • Markus’ (Markus’s)
  • Jaws’ (Jaws’s)
  • Harleys’ (Harley’s) (Harleys’s)
  • Hummers’ (Hummers’s) (Hummer’s)

Other things to do…

  • Read aloud
  • Have it read aloud to you
  • Use Voice Dream (or similar) to listen to it
  • Use Compose Mode in Scrivener to check for extra-long/short paragraphs

Random Helpful Hint

When I’m searching for a frequently used word ("looked" or a word I overuse), I first utilize the “Search Bar” aspect of Scrivener to highlight all the words:

scriv-search-bar

THEN I use the “Edit>Find” command to arrow through them all. But then I can see when a word like “tucked” is used every other paragraph.

tucking-problem

(See? I have a tuck problem.)

Diana Urban and Writing with Mentors
wrote great articles that kickstarted my list!

Thanks to @TheSoul23 for more suggestions!

 

What am I missing? Help a newb out!

typey