Evelyn Chartres Author
Manuscript

The Grand Remodeling

What’s this? Is that a freshly printed manuscript of the Grand for copy editing? Yes! After the bulk of the heavy lifting was done with my latest work, I decided to follow some advice and work on remodeling my book.

How? As you might be able to tell from the image, this manuscript features dates accompanying major changes in era. This will hopefully make things easier for people to follow along.

This manuscript also features a heavy rewrite of the chapter which inspired the Van Helsing Paradox. A lot of changes were done in my latest work to clarify dialogue, so I felt these changes needed to be brought back to the source.

Once my copy editor is done with her changes, I will make sure to re-release eBooks and a print version to celebrate. Exciting!

Hmm, I wonder how many refills of red ink she will need?

The Van Helsing Paradox’s Pseudo Math

What does: 1 manuscript; 15 revision cycles; 17 chapters; 1350 annotations made during copy editing; and 63631 words add up to? Good question. The beginning of the end!

Mobile Manuscripts

The earliest instances of writing were done by hand and any copies were made by scribes so every book was unique. Many such manuscripts included doodles or annotations that either hinted at the scribe’s creativity or provided insights on their inherent boredom.

Portrait of a man in clerical dress being hit on the head with a sword, from a book of treasury receipts.

The printing press increased our opportunity to get published works to the masses. The advent of eBooks further accelerated this phenomenon.

Authors are as varied as the stories they tell. Some still write by hand, channeling the spirit of monks and scribes of old. Others prefer the feel of a typewriter, an aspect often portrayed in movies and novels.

Technology has allowed writers to venture into the digital age. While some authors like George R.R. Martin remains stubbornly entrenched on the technology they adopt, others embrace tools to lend aid. Now it’s common to see people in coffee shops writing away on their laptops, feeding from the raw energy that permeate such places.

Advances in technology are not exclusively confined to software, computers have gotten smaller and more compact. Many of us own phones that have more processing power than was available for NASA during the Apollo program. However, this technology has not been wildly adopted as a convenient way to create content. I mean for more than keeping notes and jotting down ideas, but for writing a whole manuscript from start to finish.

Screenshot of Google Docs and the auto-correct feature

A week ago, I completed my first review of a manuscript, written entirely on my smart phone. To note, I did not use a Bluetooth to make typing easier, and used software readily available on most Android phones.

So Why Did I Do It?

Tools are at my fingertips. Auto-correct features are available on every device, a capability which is invaluable. We can fire up a browser to confirm details, after all Wikipedia is just a bookmark away. Revision history on Google Docs allows is great for collecting statistics on updates and changes over time.

Backup and share live. Basic tools like Google Docs can back-up and share work live. Unless disconnected from the Internet, the manuscript will be available on any device. How often did you have a stroke of genius, but forgot most of it before you got home?

I can take it wherever I go. While the same can be said about pen and paper, many carry their phones where they go. Given a spare moment, pull out your phone and continue adding to a chapter. This is an aspect that I found to be indispensable, especially as a parent who works full-time. After all, finding a moment to sit in front of your laptop can be a daunting task.

My manuscript was 65,643 words over 165 pages when I finished the review which generated 8,384 corrections. Tools inherent to Google Docs allowed me to generate statistics. In turn, this information enables you to gauge your revision cycles and later focus your goals.

So What Did I Learn?

Auto-correct is invaluable. Typing on a virtual keyboard will generate errors. Perhaps your thumb struck a letter instead of the space bar, or the auto-correct interpreted a word differently than anticipated. However, disabling the auto-correct it is not an option, since you’d end up with large swathsnofnmyspelednwords (swaths of misspelled words) that make no sense.

Not portable by default. If you forgot to set your document to be available offline, then you will not be able to update existing chapters until you have an opportunity to connect to the Internet.

Working Offline. A lot of auto-correct features built into Google Docs are unavailable when offline; phones will then revert to their built-in system. Checking on your progress after you reconnect, will show a slew words that were misinterpreted.

Reviewing your manuscript is critical. This process is critical for any manuscript to confirm your work. During this cycle, I came across words that made no sense and needed to decipher their meaning. While this happens with content creation method, errors are compounded by speed and relying on auto-correct.

Overall I found the advantages of using my mobile device to outweighed the disadvantages. While my writing is not as fast on a virtual keyboard, it’s close enough to push through. Additionally, I can use my time while on a bus, while waiting for my child to finish her extra-curricular activities.

Even at locations that do not have reliable Internet, my smartphone provides me with a quick and easy way to continue with my work. While laptops have their own charms, the battery life and size make them impractical for day-to-day usage.

Perhaps a better technology will come along within the next couple of years. I’ll be sure to re-evaluate and might even take the plunge. Who know? For now, I found a tool that works for me!

Spiral Development for the Literary World

I have a background in Computer Sciences and over the years worked on Open Source and corporate projects. Unsurprisingly, when I began writing the Portrait, I fell back on the tricks of the trade to refine my work.

Primarily I use the Spiral development model. As an author, I found this process allowed me to produce working drafts and revise content as necessary.  Over several iterations, the manuscript was refined. Additionally, I threw in measurements, metrics used to track trends and measure success.

Unfortunately, I never kept metrics for the the Portrait, so no meaningful data was collected. However, my work on the Grand permitted me to determine which suited my needs.

For now, Changes per Chapter and in turn Changes per Revision seemed like ideal metrics to use. I plan an in-depth discussion on the various metrics employed in a later post.

Changes per Revision for the Grand Project

Delta between revisions for the Grand Project

Armed with a development method and metrics, I was able to repeat the same steps over and over until the manuscripts were ready for release.

The process is composed of roughly four steps as follows:

Working Version

Take your draft or latest manuscript and prepare it for use as a working copy. The finished product may be used in the Beta or Revise and Implement phases later on. This format should permit you to view your work as though it were a tangible product.

You will want to avoid viewing your manuscript in content creation mode. So reviewing your manuscript on Microsoft Word or Scrivener may not be ideal.

I use Calibre to convert my manuscript into an eBook. Since, I primarily read eBooks today, changing into a reader mode with that format is simple.

The Great Pause

After my working copy is complete, I set the project aside and tackle something new.  It could be anything from reading a novel to painting the house.

The goal of this phase is to take your mind off the project. Doing something else helps you re-energize and leaves your mind open to new ideas. I prefer to take longer pauses during the initial revisions, since they take much longer to complete.

A good pause should also enable you to approach your work with fresh eyes. Hence your brain will not fill in the blanks and prevent you from being objective when reviewing the manuscript.

A good example of this was taken from an article on how the brain interprets words. Note how this paragraph can be read despite the atrocious selling.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

I also found that my mind remembers what I meant to say and fills in the blanks or corrects as necessary. Adding a pause between reviewing cycles seems to prevent this.

Beta Reading

This step can be done concurrently with the pause. Since you have a working copy it can be distributed to solicit input and opinions.

This process can employ services like Wattpad which allows you display works in progress. Be aware that people will not likely check every revision you make, so it pays to engage beta readers when nearly ready to publishing.

Revise and Implement

During this step you revise chapters, tweak them or make corrections. This process is often referred to as redlining and was traditionally done using pen and paper. The term also evokes the images of earlier editions left dripping in red ink.

I use a Kindle Keyboard which permits me to insert comments. I use these comments to note a red line and transcribe them later. Early revisions tend to generate a lot of corrections, so you may wish to transcribe the changes every so often.

View of a review process on a Kindle Keyboard

Early revisions for the Grand contained a lot of edits. As revisions progressed I ended up with fewer and smaller corrections. Eventually I was looking for things missed in previous cycles, such as elusive typos.

This stage also permits you to adjust chapters, including their order. You may opt to add, rewrite or remove chapters. Just like you would add, fix or remove features in software project.

Repeat

Start the process all over again. Create a new version of the manuscript, take a break, revise and implement. With every revision look at your metrics to measure success.

Towards the end you will know when it’s ready. For me, that stage occured once I could complete a revision within a day with no more than ten  (10) corrections for the manuscript.

Revisions may also have different goals. The first few may aim to make it readable. While later revisions concentrate on trimming the fat or finding those elusive typos. Make sure to stay focused and track your progress, otherwise you will end up with an infinite loop.

Notes on Collaboration or Editors

This process can be easily adapted to collaborative writing or include editors. In such situations, the pause would likely be occupied by others completing their review process.

The process is malleable and can suit the needs of the author. Adapt as necessary so the process works for you, not against you. Just remember to establish ways of tracking your advancements.

Normalizing Your Manuscript Using Single-Spacing

Large works of prose are prone to having formatting inconsistencies introduced over time. Quirks in your word processor may lead to unexpected behaviour. I.e. Google Docs interprets a series of spaces as tabulations during a paste operation and WordPress will insert non-breaking spaces in order to display double-spacing.

This tutorial will reference the same text throughout. A sample is available through Google Docs. Set Microsoft Word to display formatting to get a view similar to the one below

In other situations, people will either single-space or double-space at the end of a sentence. While a single author may be diligent in applying their preference, errors may be introduced and review processes are not guaranteed to cover every instance.

This tutorial will reference the same text throughout. A sample is available through Google Docs. Set Microsoft Word to display formatting to get a view similar to the one below

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.¶

The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy◦obsession·for·
her·character◦·As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶

·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,·→the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

The above sample has instances of tabulations and varied spacing. Using the Find and Replace capability, the manuscript will be normalized using a series of steps.

Normalizing all Spacing

Making all of the spacing in your manuscript the same should be your first step. This will reduce the amount of steps overall.

When viewing formatting symbols you may see the following three types of spacing:

  • Space (·) – Normal spacing created when pressing on the spacebar. Normal spacing will not keep words together;
  • Non-Breaking Space (◦) – Spacing which will keep words together. There is no way to insert using your keyboard; and
  • Tabulation (→) – A space which covers variable area. If a word is longer it will take up less spacing and more with smaller words. These are inserted when you press on the Tab key.

The goal is to transform all tabulations and non-breaking spaces into a space.

Note

This assumes you are not using tabulations or non-breaking spaces for formatting. If you do, select the area prior to using Find and Replace to narrow the scope of the search or skip converting your tabulations.

From the Home Ribbon, click on Replace as which will pop-up the Find and Replace window.

01-Search-Replace-Ribbon.pngClick in the Find what textbox to make ensure the cursor placed there. Next, click on Special and select Tab Character from the pop-up. This will insert ^t and instructs Microsoft Word to search for tabulations. Alternatively, you could simply type in ^t yourself to save a few clicks.

SS000-Tab-Space-Replace.pngPlace a single space (·) within the Replace with textbox which replaces all tabulations with a space. When satisfied, click on Replace All.

Note

Spaces are shown below using the (·) formatting character for clarity. Make sure you use a proper space instead when looking over the screenshots.

SS001-Tab-Space-Parameters.pngSince there is one (1) tabulation in the sample, you should get the same results as below.

12-Replacement-Results.pngThe document should look as follows with formatting in place.

A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
ChartresThe·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy◦obsession·for·
her·character◦·As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶

·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,· the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Now click on Special and select Nonbreaking Space from the pop-up. This will insert ^s and instructs Microsoft Word to search for tabulations. Otherwise type in ^s yourself to save a few clicks.

SS002-Non-Breaking-Spaces.pngPlace a single space (·) within the Replace with textbox which replaces all tabulations with a space. When satisfied, click on Replace All.

SS003-Non-Breaking-Spaces-Parameters.pngSince there is two (2) non-breaking spaces within our sample, you should get the same results as below.

SS004-Non-Breaking-Spaces-Parameters-Results.png

The document should look as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶

·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,· the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Confirming In-Paragraph Spacing

For this step, we use wildcards, so from the Find and Replace window check the Use wildcards option. Wildcards are incapable of using the special characters that were used in previous section, so the Special button displays a new set of features.

Attempts to use special characters will result in the following error:

17-Feature-Not-Supported.pngThis manuscript assumes that you will be using single-spacing between sentences. This assumption significantly reduces the amount of steps necessary and will prevent the introduction of oddities when exporting to an Ebook. An Ebook will insert non-breaking spaces to display two (2) spaces and creates an odd effect when near the end of a line or when starting one.

Insert ([.\!\?””;,])·{2,}into the Find what textbox and \1· into the Replace with textbox.

SS005-Paragraph-Spacing-Options.pngAgain, this may be confusing, so let us break it down to explain.

[.\!\?””;,]

Provides a list of characters to match in our search. In this case, the period, exclamation point, question mark and end quotes, semi-colon, colon and ellipse are searched for. The backslashes force search to treat preceding it characters literally. i.e. the exclamation point and question mark are special characters in searches.

()

Anything within a parenthesis may be referenced in the Replace with textbox, in this case it would be \1.

·{2,}

Find instances of at least one (2) spaces to make a match. This will ensure that we do not replace spacing that is already correct.

\1·

Replaces the matching text with whatever character was matched followed by a double space.

Click on Replace All to normalize spacing at the end of a sentence. Our sample yields several results with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character·As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.·
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?·¶

·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.·In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Erroneous Spacing

Erroneous spacing refers to misplaced white space located at either end of a paragraph. The sample we have been working with includes an example for both. To correct spacing at the end of a paragraph we insert ·{1,}(^13) in Find what and \1in the Replace with textboxes.

SS006-Paragraph-End-Spacing-Options.pngWhile this string is simpler than previous entries, I will break it down to explain.

·{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

(^13)

Special characters used to refer to a paragraph mark. Do not use ^p as this will not work with Wildcards. The parenthesis will preserve the formatting of that specific paragraph mark.

\1

Removes the spaces and drops in the found paragraph mark.

Clicking on Replace All will yield the following result with formatting:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character·As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.·
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?¶

·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.·In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

To correct spacing for the beginning of a paragraph insert (^13)·{1,}([!^13]) in Find what then\1\2 in Replace with.

SS007-Paragraph-Start-Spacing-Options.pngHere is a breakdown of the string.

(^13)

Find an instance of a paragraph mark. The parenthesis means this can be referenced later in Replace with using \1.

·{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

([!^13])

String will instruct Microsoft Word to match any character that is NOT a paragraph mark. This element will be referenced in Replace with using \2.

\1\2

Drops the paragraph mark and non-paragraph mark back in without the spacing.

Clicking on Replace All will yield the following:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character·As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.·
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?¶

The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.·In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

And you are done! Single-spacing between sentences is a simpler process that requires less steps.

Summary

Follow these steps below to normalise your manuscript for single-spacing after a sentence.  All of these are done from the Find and Replace window.

Replace tabulations

Find what: ^t

Replace with: ·

Wildcards: No

Replace non-breaking spaces

Find what: ^s

Replace with: ·

Wildcards: No

Spacing within paragraphs

Find what: ([.\!\?””;,…])·{2,}

Replace with: \1·

Wildcards: Yes

Spacing at end of paragraph

Find what: ·{1,}(^13)

Replace with: \1

Wildcards: Yes

Spacing at start of paragraph

Find what: (^13)·{1,}([!^13])

Replace with: \1\2

Wildcards: Yes

Note

Spaces are shown below using the (·) formatting character for clarity. Make sure you use a proper space instead when looking over the screenshots.