aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Problems with manuscripts: 1 + 1 doesn't = 2

I'm teaching a class next weekend. Those who wanted to could submit the first 10 pages of their novel to be critiqued. I remember doing this myself, about 15 years ago. Only in that case it was done by a professional editing service. I'm sure they probably got quite a few clients out of that sneak peek. Me, I don't want to be an editor.

One thing I learned from the editing service has always stuck with me. They circled something and wrote "1+1=2". Only the equal sign had a big slash through it, to show 1+1 didn't equal 2. It meant I was just restating something, not adding value.

Here are some examples:
• "old faded blue shirt" could be "faded blue shirt"
• "…shards exploding like shrapnel shooting across the room," is crisper as "…shards exploding like shrapnel."
• "She shuddered as her shaking fingers…" is better as "Her shaking fingers…"

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