Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to Save Time on Your Manuscript

Ha, bet you think this is a let's-outline blog, don't you?  Nope.  Instead, it's a easy-peasy tip on how to save keystrokes.

Start with a couple of sentences from one of my unpublished works.  How could I have written it faster?  Not better, or tighter, but faster?

Though Wdystane was a dozen years older than the male Immaculae she took to her bed, he wondered if the Colonel still frequented it.
Elliott elbowed his way through the crowd, his progress helped by Foote’s presence.

There are four stumbling blocks in these sentences: Wdystane, Immaculae, Elliott and Foote.  Crazy names and hard to type, right?  Elliott is an unusual spelling of Elliot, it would be easy to forget the second “t”, and the “e” and Foote could be forgotten, as well.  As for Immaculae and Wdystane?  I’d be sure to muck them up each time.
Do you have character’s names that are difficult?  Or an awkward phrase that is repeated frequently?  In one of my former jobs, I had to type “special engineering quote number” several times a day, and I could never master speed typing it correctly.
If you’d like to make your work easier, take advantage of your word processing’s AutoCorrect feature.  Usually listed under the Tools tab, it’s not just for placing I before E except after C.
For example, Wdystane can be AutoCorrected by replacing it with “wdy”, three consonants not normally found together.  I abbreviated “special engineering quote number” to “spqn” and never had to type it again.  Make sure the shortcut is a mix of letters or numbers that you wouldn’t use otherwise.  It’d be wrong if you used “ic” for Immaculae and end up with “sImmaculaek” or “stImmaculaek” instead of “sick” and “stick”.  You get my drift.
AutoCorrect can be used for long phrases, too.  “Please submit your proposal as soon as possible and thank you for your interest in XYZ Corporation” could be boiled down to “psrp” or any other shortcut.
AutoCorrect can be your friend.
p.s. To see how it can’t be your friend, visit for some awkward texting conversations.
p.p.s. This is not a office safe site.   
Disclaimer: No English teachers were harmed during the writing of this post.  Seven typing mistakes were made that could have been helped with AutoCorrect.  Why is AutoCorrect two words instead of one?  Isn't that AutoWrong?

1 comment:

Patricia Kiyono said...

You're right. Sometimes AutoCorrect is a bear. I never thought about using it in my manuscripts. It would have been great for typing some of the long Greek names in Aegean Intrigue. I think I spelled Francie's last name three different ways!