Edit Cards

25 Sep

People are always asking “how do you do your edits?”


My answer: EDIT CARDS!


Edit cards are your standard To Do list for everything you write. They include, everything from over-used words and phrases to sentence structures you need to trim, to judging chapters/scenes/paragraphs/sentences/words worthy of staying in your manuscript.


The cards are great for three reasons. They:

  1. keep me organized
  2. force me to do the little things I might forget (or the big things!!!)
  3. help me feel like I’m getting somewhere

Sometimes you write and write and write and then edit and edit and edit until you get to the point where you say to yourself, “Self, you’ve been working on this ms for six months and you still only have one ms!”


The edit cards are great for people who need to see a tangible step forward. Writing is often, for those people, less energy-draining than editing because they can see the wordcount or pages grow. Editing can too often be about “feel” – and that is NOT a safe way to judge your work. With edit cards, your pile of “done” cards grows showing you your progress beyond just ‘the story’s getting better.’


Now, everyone’s edit cards would be different and yet very much the same as well 🙂


I’ve created mine over the past year, and love them. I thought I’d share my over-used words list. Some of these aren’t words that are used a lot, but still need to be chopped in the editing process.


Like “DOWN”


I know when I’m fast drafting my characters (for example) ‘sit down.’ I know this is a wasted word, but focusing the writing part of my brain on NOT writing something that is easy to find and destroy later would slow me down (tee hee). So, even though there were probably only 3 ‘sit down’s in the manuscript, ‘down’ has a card that allows me to remain focused on writing and not doing a checks and balances of O.U. words as I go.


So, here’s my list of Single Words To Search – each has its own card. I’d love to see yours. 






















6 Responses to “Edit Cards”

  1. Tempest Knight September 25, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

    Edit cards… sounds interesting. I might have to try that method sometime. 😀

  2. briaq September 26, 2008 at 8:21 am #

    They cut down on your IE (internal editor) while you write and they stop you’re to do list – they’re you’re every time list 🙂

    Hope you like playing with them – I”m thinking of making a second set of General Cards and doing a give away some day 🙂

  3. rhonda September 26, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    dude, what a good idea! i have several words i overuse a lot…like “sigh”, or “just”…hahahaha

  4. briaq September 26, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Oh Rhonda – those are great words too!

    Also, you know, sometimes your words are manuscript/time in your life specific. I have a friend who shall remain nameless, who had 44 “white” in one of her ms’s. Obviously, white isn’t always going to be a key word for her, but something got her white-happy this time around.


  1. Edit Cards - Part 2 « Luv YA - October 5, 2008

    […] out Edit Cards Part 1 HERE […]

  2. My New Best Advice For Writers « Luv YA - October 30, 2008

    […] weeks ago I wrote about my Edit Cards system HERE and after several questions wrote a second, clarifying blog HERE. On the encouragement of a few […]

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