Friday, August 24, 2012

E-Book Editing Fun

One of the many advantages owning an eBook reader has over reading the traditional bound edition is the ability you have to make your own edits to the book. Of course, this takes some work with software the book publishers might not approve of you using, but that is not something we need to discuss - is it? 

If I find an author I enjoy, but think he/she is using too many adverbs (especially during dialog) I can pick three or four of the most common, and remove them with no adverse effect. Thus, "'Go fuck yourself,' she said hotly." becomes, "'Go fuck yourself,' she said." See? The adverb is an unnecessary qualifier. If a writer's dialog requires an adverb or other descriptor to convey the emotion, then the dialog is weak. The above example works just fine without the adverb.

Sometimes an author can become too fond of a certain word(s). I noticed Terry Pratchett uses the words "quite" and "rather" and it started to bug me. I'm not sure if it's a chink in his writing armor, or just the fact that he's British, but I'd feel a pang of annoyance every time I read one of these words. Once again it was only a matter of moments to get rid of them. From then on "quite a lot" became "a lot" and "a rather large troll" was reduced to "a large troll."

One fun edit I read about was replacing the word "wand" with "wang" in the Harry Potter books. The result being wizards drawing and pointing their wangs at one another, or if an innocent bystander word gets swept up in the editing, you'll find Ron and Harry wangering around Hogwarts. I may or may not have taken this one step further by changing Voldemort to Buttface McGee.

After I post this, I plan on reading the first few chapters in the fifth book of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. Over the first four books I found the sentence "So-and-so shrugged" or similar variants showed up about every three pages. Using the Kindle's "Search This Book" feature it turned out to be once every three and one-third pages. Way too repetitive for me so back to the editing board. Starting with this book instead of reading "Reacher shrugged," I'll be reading "Reacher did a sexy dance." Might liven up an already exciting series.


The Other Andy said...

Ahh yes, the fun of books. Especially easily editable to find a suitable victim novel to find and replace a common occurrence with "Hitler?!"

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