Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MS Word Tip: Find is Your Friend

T-minu six days and counting.  That's how long I have until my insurance runs out.  I've already received my last severance pay check.  Looks like this gamble I've taken isn't panning out as I would've liked.

STILL!  The site is OPTIMISM ABOUNDS, not HOPELESSNESS MAKES AN APPEARANCE.  So, I shall remain optimistic and trust in the universe to deliver exactly and precisely what I need when I need it.  And I shall continue to pound out the resumes.

Incidentally, if given a choice between writing query letters and cover letters I'd take query letters every time.

SO!  On with the MS Word Tip.

Ever use the CTRL-F or FIND feature?  Probably the most used feature for me because I look for recurring patterns, overused words, and passive sentences.  It's really easy, and it's a lifesaver if you ever want to nit pick your manuscript and clean up the word choices.

See, for me, I tend to write the first draft quickly just to get the story lines down on paper, and most importantly, to FINISH the dang thing.  Then I go back and revise.  That's where FIND is my best friend.

Here's what I look for:

WAS and WERE - I scan this because I'm writing in first person, and I have a tendency to tell the story with a lot of passive verbs, like "we were sitting on the rock", instead of "we sat on the rock".  This also helps identify passive sentences, like "Bobby was hit by the bully".  I can see lame use of non-exciting verbs and might change the above sentence to "The bully leveled Bobby with one swift left hook".

JUST and PRETTY - Seems kinda random, right?  But I found these to be probably the most overused words in my manuscript.  "We just sat on the rock" isn't a bad choice for depicting voice, but it's not essential and boy did I over use it.  Pretty is also a way to describe things that is just as useless and overused - "She was pretty mad" is flat.  "The cartoon version of her would've had smoke pouring out of the ears and a face lobster-red" is more descriptive.

Click here to see the total list of things I look for - it's from Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen and I have it printed out (and laminated if I could) for use every time I revise.

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