Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Act of She

Wow, almost a week since my last post. Been nearly a week away from a computer. The ramp at work and bringing a new line to life has left me with little to no time. Coupling that has been my renewed interest in getting the excess weight off my body. Which leads me to my topic for today - cutting excess weight from the manuscript.

Recently I have learned that the iPhone can open emails with PDF attachments. So knowing this I sent myself and my wife the manuscript in PDF to our phones. Over a casual dinner we can pull up the manuscript and discuss what works and what doesn't. During one of these discussion I spotted an excessive amount of the word "she" in the draft.

Tenchnically there is nothing wrong with using the word, except when repeating it four times in one paragraph. So I have become determined to reduce the amount of 'she' words in the manuscript. I started yesterday with the first chapter. The delimma I was faced with was how to find them all. I could print out the chapter then attack it with a highlighter (which I have done in the past). The problem is that I alrady have a 8 inch stack of paper for this book (yeah - I've saved every print out related to the book). The answer came yesterday while teaching people how to use MS Word at work.

MS Word has a "find" function. Most people use it to locate unique words in a document. Word 2007 also has a "replace" function. "Replace" is great for changing an occurance of a word with another - like changing a name. While showing this function I noticed the "replace" function has a "more" option. It turns out that you can change the format (such as font color) of a specific word. So I went into chapter 1 and had all the "she" words replaced with red font. Bingo. I instantly saw all the "she" and was able to correct the repitition problem.

Next step is to use it to find "was", "had", "were", "saw", and every other crutch word I like to repeat when I get lazy. I think it'll also work to change the font on the letters 'ly' so I can fix those pesky words too. I love learning about new features that save me time.

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