Incorporating Redlines, or, How I Want to Punch Myself in the Face



Did I mention that I also did some editing during my Technical Writer career? This is an advantage when it comes to reading my manuscript and looking for

  • plot discrepancies,
  • thin chapters,
  • flow issues,
  • grammar usage,
  • unnecessary and overly-repeated words, and
  • good ol’ spelling mistakes.

My beta-reader draft is underway, but these redlines, oh, the redlines! I know, I know, I’ll face worse when a professional book editor looks at the work, but somehow I can handle other people’s feedback more easily. That’s probably because of my experience in high-tech. Sending stuff to editing was just part of the process.

The first thing that struck me during my self-editing phase was how large 120 000 words looks like when printed. I sorta made that Scoopy-Doo inquisitive sound. Because technology is so sophisticated these days, I haven’t had to print the book until last month. I listened to it on my phone while updating the manuscript my Chromebook, or just read it on iBooks, and made annotations. It seemed like a benevolent wee story. Then I printed it out and had to breathe into a paper bag. Out came my red pen and I went to town!

My protagonist, Virj, is also a writer who really wants to be published. Unfortunately, he’s not that good yet. My goal is to be better than him. (Sorry, Virjie.) I guess I’m tough on myself, but that’s only because I want to do my best to relay the story that I want to tell. Hence the redlines, and more redlines, OH, THE REDLINES!

One surprising motivator to get this editing done has been my Ma. I know, right? I sent her the first three chapters and she keeps asking me for more pages every time we speak on the phone. I think this is good training for meeting deadlines. Also, I’ve left my friend Jeremie hanging. They’ve only read until chapter 17 of the ugly first draft. I can’t let Jeremie down!

The biggest reason I want to get this draft out is because I really like the diverse group of people I have chosen as beta readers, and their feedback will really be invaluable to me. I can’t wait to hear their constructive criticism and insights. So, on I go, incorporating all those redlines.

But OH, the redlines!

I dream in red ink these days, I swear.


Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer in high tech and government organizations. She is currently a Web Developer consultant for Dynamic Canvas Inc., and assistant to the Executive Director at H’Art of Ottawa. She also enjoys her crafting business, Cait Cards.


Cait (like cat) Gordon View All →

An Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedy sci-fi with an unusual amount of dessert. She's also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.

Quirky, bakey, eaty, faithy, drummy, wifey sorta gal who really likes writing words.

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