Annals of Revision

Posted: December 23rd, 2010 under Craft, Editing, Revisions, the writing life.
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Herewith a post that may grow over the days, for your amusement, as I jot down some details of revising a big book at top speed (also lets me take a short break each time.)

1. How could I have gone over this chapter several times (which I have) and not seen that “he’d had a good” was not a complete clause in that sentence?  A good what??    Adjectives need nouns.   (Nouns often don’t need adjectives, if you use the right noun.)

2.  And speaking of nouns…when writing at top speed I may throw down a clutter of words that covers the meaning more or less–at least reminds me of it–instead of hunting around for the best word.   Later, I have to stare at the passage and figure out which of the meanings hidden in the clutter suggests which right word.   This morning’s right word was “levy.”

3.  Word, as usual, introduces its own annoyances (I get to blame someone else!)  and one of them is the inability of the spell-checker to grasp that a proper noun can have a possessive form–and that possessives of names do not become some other unknown word.   I want it to catch “ther” and “nad” and “br8ght” and not clutter the page by underlining possessives.


  • Comment by Skyehaven — December 23, 2010 @ 10:52 am


    @3: Hear hear! It can be even worse when typing dialog because people will contract pretty much any noun with the present tense of the verb “to be”, causing Word to go into the same silly convulsions.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — December 23, 2010 @ 11:12 am


    @2 Ooooo. “levy”. Could be troops, could be taxes, could be bulwark against a raging river. Such a nice word.

    @3 I’m glad I don’t have to be doing the transcription for the focus groups just completed at work for exactly the reasons mentioned.

  • Comment by Kip Colegrove — December 23, 2010 @ 11:35 am


    In re the intelligence of cybernetic systems: smart is one thing, wise is another. That goes for the human effort of creating them, too. Wisdom would indicate the need, from the first, for a means to correctly interpret those possessives.

  • Comment by Alaska Fan — December 24, 2010 @ 1:08 am


    Word’s spell-checking features are lame in comparison to other products on the market. I’m a big fan of Spell Catcher, from Rainmaker Software. Hands on the keyboard typo/spelling corrections, too. Manages possessives sweetly. You won’t want to change software under deadline, but something to think about at the next long pause.

  • Comment by Margaret Middleton — December 30, 2010 @ 5:39 am


    Actually, the bulwark against a raging river is a “levee”, at least according to the Army Corps of Engineers district.

  • Comment by Fred Zebruk — January 1, 2011 @ 7:55 pm


    Levy in its French spelling also includes a gathering (normally at New Years Day to pass on blessings to and from the Lord of the Manor.
    I am very pleased to know that adventures continue within Pak’s world. I look forward to King’s of the North.

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