Well colour me silly

So recently, I had a brain wave. Yes in the shower were all good ideas are born it seems. When I revise and search filter words etc, I have to go through using hte find feature and search one at a time. The reason is I’m not a professional editor and step by step is the only way I can keep focused. Sure I spot other issues and other words as I go, but not enough. I skip over and am blind to others.  After more than a year of writing, editing and revising, I asked myself. “What if I could just change the colours of the filter words etc. in the entire manuscript instead of finding and searching one at a time?” Huh. What a great idea. Then all the words I need to look at would stand out all at once.

I mosey over to my computer, once dried and dressed, and I employ my best friend google and low and behold… yes. Yes, I can.

What? How is it I never thought of this sooner? Why have I struggled and toiled so long? Duh *forehead slap.  I am certain there are a few or many out there laughing their asses off at me, how on earth did I not know this was possible? That’s okay I know I’m not the only one and thus I’m sharing this newly discovered tidbit.

I’ve talked about filter words, ing’ing, the over use of –ly so I wont dwell on what words need to be addressed, but how to find and change them? Thus far, I’ve been using the “find” feature to seek out and destroy each filter word or –ing one at a time. Now I can (and I’m stoked to try this on my second manuscript that is waiting ever so patiently for some TLC) highlight all the troubles and in one or two read-through’s address them all at once. Squeeee.

This instruction is from PCmag.com

Yes, you can. Here are the steps:

1. Press Ctrl-H, and click the More button in the Find and Replace dialog.
2. Click the Format button, and select Font.
3. Select the color to be changed—leaving all else blank—and click OK.
4. Click the Replace with box, and repeat steps 2 and 3 to select the new color.

5. Click Replace All.

The default color for text is Automatic, which shows as black on a white background. If you want to change some colored text to black, select Black rather than Automatic in the list. Then if you need to change it back, you can still distinguish it from the rest of the text. If you were to change it to Automatic, there would be no way to change it back.

**My only caution is after each one changed ACTUALLY click back to the text or page to start again otherwise things might not go as planned.

So, there are now more options. (Aside from colour you can underline, italic or even change font. This wouldn’t work for me since changing it all back later might cause formatting issues)

  1. Make all things you’re searching for one stand out colour
  2. Make all filter words the same colour, make all ‘ing’ the same colour, make all ‘ly’ the same colour etc. etc.
  3. Make each word etc. a different colour in order of priority. I red top down to blue least important.

For this final edit, I didn’t pick a strategy and just went with random bright colours since I don’t have a lot left. On the next book I will definitely use strategy #3 and plan it out.

Now this doesn’t mean I have to get rid of all of the filter words or -ings or -ly’s or whatever it is I need to fix, but it will allow me to find the areas that need to be repaired. My wordy sentences or the ones that are in the wrong POV.

Once I’m done I simply “select all” and make the text black again. The uber nerd in me is stupidly excited about this treasure of a discovery. After a little time, it is easy to see that this newly discovered (To me) method is the way to go.

My advice about using colour to find filter words etc.
Why the hell wouldn’t you? I will from now on and forever more, use this. I can’t even begin to express how excited I am about this. (And I’m a tad embarrassed it took so long to figure out.)

-Sheryl

Other related posts worth checking out

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Tag! You’re it.

Are you inging too?

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