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Make it tight

The title isn't my take on jeans, but rather on the editing process. At the moment I'm working my way through my second book - of which the title is taken from this blog, though I usually refer to it as TROG - I'm altering the tense, but I'm also making the MS tighter.

Quite often during the writing process, it's easy to use excess words - possibly to pad it out, possibly because it's natural to elaborate when you're flowing along. However, when editing, it's worth bearing in mind the context; the context allows you to make the MS tighter, and ultimately makes the MS a better read. For example:

'Blah blah blah,' he smiles at me.

If you've established that there are only two characters in a room having this conversation, drop the "at me" - after all, who else could he be smiling at? The door?!

'Etc etc etc,' I suggest as a plan begins to formulate in my mind.

Where else would this plan form?! In this case, cutting "in my mind" would tighten the MS and improve the readability. Of course, there is the need to set the scene, but not if it pointlessly over-explains. If this was a sci-fi piece (it isn't), it could have been necessary to explain the plan was formulating in the mind ... if other alien characters have been revealed to think in their feet, that is!

If you really don't want to "kill your darlings" but need to get your word-count reduced, consider your sentence structure! Right, it's back to editing with my red pen ... or should that just be "back to editing"?!

May - August 2009 Reads:

Continuing on from January - April Reads, I will be updating this post with what I've read between May - August.

[B] indicates a brand new read
[R] a re-read
[RR] a re-re-read!

62. You Know You Love Me - Cecily von Ziegesar [B]
63. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho [R]
64. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer [RR]
65. Marley and Me - John Grogan [B]
66. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer [RR]
67. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman [B]
68. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer [RR]
69. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer [RR]
70. Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman [B]
71. Animal Farm - George Orwell [B]
72. It had to be you - Cecily von Ziegesar [B]
73. Lady Susan - Jane Austen [B]
74. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown [RR]
75. Jinxed - Sara Lawrence [B]
76. The Beautiful People - Simon Doonan [B]
77. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert [B]
78. He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Berhendt [B]
79. Bergdorf Blondes - Plum Sykes [B]
80. The Other Queen - Philippa Gregory [B]
81. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess [B]
82. Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith [B]
83. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher - Kate Summerscale [B]
84. Out of the Blue - Belinda Jones [B]
85. The Nanny - Melissa Nathan [B]
86. A Friend of the Family - Lisa Jewell [B]
87. 31 Dream Street - Lisa Jewell [B]
88. The Clothes on Their Backs - Linda Grant [B]
89. The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy - Fiona Neill [B]
90. White Teeth - Zadie Smith [B]
91. Love Eternally - Deborah Wright [B]
92. Knife Edge - Malorie Blackman [B]
93. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood [R]
94. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga [B]
95. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark [B]
96. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier [B]
97. A Vintage Affair - Isabel Wolff [B]
98. The Second Wives Club - Jane Moore [B]
99. Playing with the Grown-ups - Sophie Dahl [B]
100. Blackberry Wine - Joanne Harris [R]
101. Babydreams - Maxine Paetro [B]
102. The Heartbreaker - Susan Howatch [B]
103. Lipstick Jungle - Candance Bushnell [B]
104. Baby Proof - Emily Giffin [B]
105. Harry, A History - Melissa Anelli [B]
106. Platinum - Jo Rees [B]
107. Rubbish Boyfriends - Jessie Jones [B]
108. The Host - Stephenie Meyer [B]
109. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult [B]
110. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched - Meg Cabot [B]
111. Crystal - Katie Price [B]
112. How to Break Your Own Heart - Maggie Alderson [B]
113. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young [B]
114. Persuasion - Jane Austen [B]
115. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox - Eoin Colfer [B]
116. Back After the Break - Anita Notaro [B]
117. The Northern Clemency - Philip Hensher [B]
118. Girl, Interrupted - Susanna Kaysen [B]
119. Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult [B]
120. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling [RR]
121. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling [RR]
122. Being Jordan - Katie Price [R]
123. Jordan: A Whole New World - Katie Price [B]
124. Jordan: Pushed to the Limit - Katie Price [B]
125. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling [RR]
126. Decent Exposure - Phillipa Ashley [RR]
127. Generation X - Douglas Coupland [B]
128. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris [B]
129. The Luxe - Anna Godbersen [B]
130. The Other Half - Sarah Rayner [B]
131. Legally Blonde - Amanda Brown [B]
132. The Doomsday Prophecy - Scott Mariani [B]
133. The Last Templar - Raymond Khoury [B]
134. Seven Ancient Wonders - Matthew Reilly [B]
135. The Eye of Ra - Michael Asher [B]
136. Prozac Nation - Elizabeth Wurtzel [B]
137. Family Trust - Amanda Brown [B]
138. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Caroll [RR]
139. Devil May Care - Sebastian Faulks, as Ian Fleming [B]
140. Mother's Day - Kirsty Scott [B]
141. One Fifth Avenue - Candace Bushnell [B]
142. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray [B]
143. Waterloo Sunset - Richard Ayres [B]
144. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller [B]
145. The Host - Stephenie Meyer [R]
146. Rumours - Anna Godbersen [B]
147. Envy - Anna Godbersen [B]
148. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote [B]
149. The Thoughtful Dresser - Linda Grant [B]
150. Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris [B]
151. Club Dead - Charlaine Harris [B]
152. Four Blondes - Candace Bushnell [B]
153. The Nightingale - Morganna Gallaway [B]
154. Breathing in Colour - Clare Jay [B]
155. The Secret Countess - Eva Ibbotson [B]

Between May and August 2009, I read 94 books! 80 of those were brand new reads, 4 were second reads, and 10 were books I've read several times before. September - October Reads can be found here.

January - April 2009 Reads:


I'm curious to see how many books I read a year. I'll be updating this post throughout the year once I've read a book, whether it's a brand new read [B], a re-read [R], or maybe even a re-re-read [RR]!. Numbered List

I'm also having a read-off with Scarlett ... may the best reader win! ;p
  1. Shopaholic and Sister - Sophie Kinsella [R]
  2. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer [R]
  3. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer [R]
  4. Chinese Whispers - Marisa Mackle [B]
  5. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer [R]
  6. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen [B]
  7. Decent Exposure - Phillipa Ashley [R]
  8. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen [R]
  9. Then We Came To The End - Joshua Ferris [B]
  10. Shopaholic and Baby - Sophie Kinsella [R]
  11. The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten - Meg Cabot [B]
  12. Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin [B]
  13. The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus [B]
  14. Flapper - Joshua Zeitz [B]
  15. Country Pursuits - Jo Carnegie [B]
  16. Good in Bed - Jennifer Weiner [B]
  17. Pick Me Up - Zoe Rice [B]
  18. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen [B]
  19. Firestarter - Stephen King [B]
  20. The Long Firm - Jake Arnott [B]
  21. The Normals - David Gilbert [B]
  22. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath [RR]
  23. The Visible World - Mark Slouka [B]
  24. The Duchess - Amanda Foreman [B]
  25. The BFG - Roald Dahl [RR]
  26. Arthur and George - Julian Barnes [B]
  27. Stories We Could Tell - Tony Parsons [B]
  28. Showdown - Tilly Bagshawe [B]
  29. Other Women - Kirsty Crawford [B]
  30. How to Kill Your Husband - Kathy Lette [B]
  31. The Ex-Wife's Survival Guide - Debby Holt [B]
  32. Gangsters and Gold Diggers - Jerome Charyn [B]
  33. The First Wives Club - Olivia Goldsmith [B]
  34. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby [R]
  35. Sex, Lies and Fairytales - Kate Thompson [B]
  36. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë [B]
  37. Something Blue - Emily Giffin [B]
  38. The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton [B]
  39. The Rum Diary - Hunter S. Thompson [B]
  40. Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [B]
  41. Marrying for Money - Chris Manby [B]
  42. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson [B]
  43. Chasing Harry Winston - Lauren Weisberger [B]
  44. Spa Wars - Chris Manby [B]
  45. Tell Me Something - Adele Parks [B]
  46. Rescuing Rose - Isabel Wolff [B]
  47. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen [B]
  48. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson [B]
  49. Love Rules - Freya North [R]
  50. Out of Egypt - Andre Aciman [B]
  51. The Cupid Effect - Dorothy Koomson [B]
  52. A Year in High Heels - Camilla Morton [B]
  53. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens [B]
  54. Salem's Lot - Stephen King [B]
  55. Home Truths - Freya North [R]
  56. Gossip Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar [B]
  57. Living the Dream - Kate Thompson [B]
  58. Chloe - Freya North [R]
  59. The Shining - Stephen King [B]
  60. Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella [B]
  61. The Accidental Marathon - Lucy Hawking [B]
Between January and April 2009, I read 61 books! 48 of those were brand new reads, 10 were second reads, and 3 were books I've read several times. May - August Reads can be found here.

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