Tag Archives: Editing

Frequently Rowling

Image
Frequency (a quick sketch and Photoshop treatment to avoid using the same old same old frequency wave)

This is a bit of an extension on the previous post about “just” showing up too much. While it’s probably old news to everyone but me, the method used by Peter Millican of Oxford University and Patrick Juola of Duquesne University to discover J.K. Rowling was in fact the author of the Cuckoo’s Calling demonstrates how identifiable an author is by the word choices, and the frequency of those choices that they make. I’ve always been big on macros, and found this one to be helpful in ferreting out overused “weak” words and phrases. For those writers who haven’t used macros, you should be aware of them because, even if you don’t care about word frequency, you never know when a macro could save days of valuable time you could use to write. Essentially anything in Word (or Excel) you find yourself doing over, and over, and over again is a prime candidate. There are plenty of good introductions on the Net, but to help anyone curious on how to use the frequency macro by Allen Wyatt that I linked to, here’s a quick tutorial.

Old Word

0) Make sure to save and back up the document you want to analyze

1) Open the document you want to analyze in Word

2) In the menu bar, select Tools

3) Select the “Macro” list item (it might be hidden away if you haven’t used it before)

4) Select the “Visual Basic Editor”

5) Double click on your document in the left hand window

6) Paste the macro above into the editor window

7) If your version of Word is really old, it might complain about the two lines with the “_” at the end (they’ll be marked in red), so delete those “_”s and bring the next line together with the first one.
ex) j = MsgBox(“The maximum array size has been exceeded. Increase maxwords.”, vbOKOnly)
and
ex) j = MsgBox(“There were ” & Trim(Str(WordNum)) & ” different words “, vbOKOnly, “Finished”)

8) Look for the icon with the VCR/DVD player style “Play” button at the top and click it

9) Sort by FREQ frequency

10) Word will stop responding for a bit, but in a minute or so, you’ll have a list of the words you used in the document

New Word

0 and 1) Same as above

2) Go to the Developer Tab, if it’s not there, turn it on.

3) Select the Developer Tab (see the link in 2 for help if needed)

4) Select the Visual Basic icon on the left

5-10) Same as above

Did You…?

This is a public service announcement.
Did you remember to save your document?
Did you remember to back it up on the USB drive and another computer without checking “Yes” to overwrite all?
Did you remember to save your document?

This is prompted by what may have been the cause of a little lost work. (either that or I’m crazy…well, not so much “or”) Despite having statistics tracked to the end of last October, the last draft of my second novel that I possess is dated mid-October. This means a) I misplaced or mistakenly deleted the final, final draft or b) I imagined the last two weeks of work. My guess is that I had it finished and renamed the file, then went back later and deleted that file thinking it was the backup, when in fact it was the final version. I made the discovery this morning on the train ride to work when I sat down to my notebook and decided to return to editing the second novel only to find out things weren’t quite right.
Which brings me back to my public service announcement.
Did you really remember to save your document and back it up?

Just a Bad Habit

Just finished the copy edits and manuscript formatting on the third novel today. Feels nice to be able to tuck it away, ready for submission!
One of the things I had to edit down last week were all of the “just“s. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but on the last read it felt like I just had too many justs. Not sure why the word comes so easily to me. My frame of mind must just be trying to limit everything. In any case, after getting rid of most of them, the document just feels stronger. (as it would with getting rid of any adjectives or adverbs, for example, reread that paragraph without all of the “just”s)