Color Coding and Scissors and Tape: Best Editing Tools!

At the moment, I’m in the early stages of ghostwriting a book based on a manuscript with only bits and pieces of ideas that are salveagable and notes from conversations with the expert. So, I’ve been using my favorite tools for editing a lot these last few weeks: color coding in Word and scissors and tape.

First, I type an all-caps header above each paragraph or section that describes the main idea in short. Then, I color code these paragraphs or sections based on what chapter they’ll probably slot into. For instance, Chapter 1 is coded turquoise while chapter 2 is coded navy blue (in Word, you can go beyond the main colors and actually access a color wheel that gives you many hues; I don’t like to use a color on color background, which is another option, as it’s very tiring on the eyes to look at). When I’ve coded a big manuscript or section of notes, I simply cut and paste into chapter files: All the turquoise text goes in c. 1, all the navy in c. 2, etc.

Next step: Print out in doublespace 12-pt type and grab the scissors and tape. Cut up sections and put them in order, fastening them with tape, and penciling in headers and transitions that come to mind. Eventually, I end up with a long scroll that I can use as my template for constructing the chapter. Sections that are simply ideas, not crafted text, I just read and rewrite as I go.

Will this process work for you? Try it and see!


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Filed under editing techniques, ghostwriting techniques

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