They say we fall in love with our work, and since we all know love is blind, it becomes very difficult to delete words or scenes or change them.
In order to trick my eyes into seeing my work in a new light—in other words, as not so lovable—I wait a good two weeks or so before beginning the process of self-editing. I’ll go through each scene many different times before I compile it into Microsoft Word and send it for professional editing.
But when I’m starting out, I change the look of the words in the Editor by choosing different style preset. I start out with a Times New Roman preset, flush left, double space, like this:
And when I’ve gone through the words once or twice, I apply a different preset. It’s as if I’m seeing my words for the first time.
Since this is the second scene in the novel, I will go over and over it—especially this first paragraph—polishing, rewriting, changing it back to the original paragraph, so I might change the formatting several different times, just to give me another view of my work.
Note: To create a preset, format a paragraph the way you want and highlight it. In the Scrivener menu at the top, click Format > Formatting > New Preset From Selection. And btw, here’s a great Scrivener cheat sheet. To quickly switch presets, highlight the text and use the first button in the Format Bar to choose a preset—it’s the drop-down button labeled ” a¶”. To show the Format Bar, click Format > Show Format Bar.
Photo: A Paris gamin. Lewis Hine, ca 1910.