Just for the fun of it, and because I am editing like crazy this week, I thought I would share a fun little story! :)
My dearest bestest friend in the whole world decided to start a writing race. We were going to head to head, a full battle. Fingers typing at the speed of light, words flying across the screen. The battle was coming to an end and when it was over, I slumped over victorious!
But then came time for edits. I ripped the novel to shreds, making sure every bit of it was in perfect condition. No words out of place, no typos, not a single mistake. Only . . . there were mistakes. A lot of them.
Giggles ensued as I read over a page. It felt as if every other word was smile. No joke. I did a search for the word. In a 40,000 word manuscript the word smile was found over 200 times. That's a lot for one word to be repeated.
I then struck up a conversation with this wonderful friend and told her the hilarious mistake. She informed me that in her edits, her manuscript ALSO had an over abundance of the word smile. More giggles ensued.
And then inspiration struck!
What if we replaced the word smile with something . . . less happy? Just to see how it changed sentences, to see how many of those we could remove without breaking the story.
Our smiles were turned to death. Quite literally. We did Find and Replace, changing every smile into death. Sentences that once went something like "He gave her a coy smile." became "He gave her a coy death."
Changing one word, changed the entire novel indeed. Eventually we changed all deaths back to smiles and then proceeded to fully edit. It was a lot of work, but we got a whole lot of smiles out of it!