My finger hovered over the mouse button, ready to click “Send” and turn That She is Made of Truth over to Tom for editing.
But wait; there’s more!
Rather than tossing a soiled manuscript over the transom and letting Tom wipe it down before he even begins work, why not tidy it up myself, and let him spend his time doing what he does best?
I always run my manuscripts through AutoCrit before asking anyone else to work with them. It’s the least I can do (and sometimes, the least is exactly what I do.)
AutoCrit is an automated online self-editing tool. It’s no replacement for the sharp eye and incisive mind of a human editor. Instead, its reports on pacing, needless repetition, most-used and overused words, all nudge the writer toward tidiness.
I am verbose. I have favorite phrases and words. But “stuff” does not need to appear in That She is Made of Truth 38 times. I should not begin 48 sentences with “But” and another 36 with “And” nor should “really” and “probably” appear over 100 times between them.
Another set of eyes keeps us honest. It gives us the gun to kill our darlings.
It gives me a checklist so I can, as dispassionately as a writer is able, cut the fluff and trim the fat, so Tom has more time for deep thoughts (he’s a regular Jack Handy) and the final result is a better book than if I’d lazily left it to someone else to care most about my art.