Friday, December 12, 2008

Search and replace

I've spent the day on very mundane cleanup work, made a lot less tedious by the search and replace tool on my word processor. (Another theory is that "time saving" technology tools actually make more work possible, so you end up doing more of it rather than the same amount of work in less time. That's probably the case here.)

Since I'm getting close to handing off my typescript to my first reader, I'm moving into a clean-up phase. Part of that includes a long list of quickly noted points that I have needed to check for consistency. These are things like names of minor characters that I decided to change part-way through, characters that got split into two or two characters that got combined into one, makes of cars that I have re-imagined.

You can even search for types of formatting, so I'm able to search for all the greyscale, highlighting and _____ spots that indicate places where I was rushing by and wanted to come back and patch up later. e.g. I have places that read like, "Just like Uncle _____ always said . . ." So I can search for the ______ and now come up with the name.

I used the same formatting search to make consistent the way I showed breaks between sections.

I found that I there are a few placeholder names that I used for multiple characters. e.g. When I searched for Kelly, it was attached to two people.

I'm searching for the keywords that appear in scenes that I cut out to make sure I deleted later references to those scenes.

Location names. I have my characters stopping at 7-11 type convenience stores numerous times. I wanted a name that felt like the right time and place but also wasn't an actual brand name. I tried out a few along the way and have needed to go back and use the one I settled on consistently.

Next up, I'm going to resume using the search function to find particular grammatical constructions so I can make sentence-level improvements. (I wrote about this earlier.)

I would also like to try and do some larger scene improvements, but I won't have time to do more than a few unfortunately. I'll be handing it off to my reader fully aware of certain significant problems. My goal was to have him looking at it when I was unable to see anything else wrong with it, and I haven't quite got there. I need at least a few more weeks. Oh well.

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