May 16, 2015

I LOVE the Find & Replace feature. It's one of my best friends when I'm writing or editing a piece of fiction.

Here are four awesome ways you can utilize your Find & Replace feature.

Change your Characters' Names
I know that some of you writers emphasize deep study behind naming each of your characters. If you have a ceremonious process of matching a name with an analogy and meaning behind it, kudos to you! Me, now, I’m more of a spontaneous name-giver. I whip through Baby Name sights or ask someone passing by, “Hey, what’s a good girl name?” Very efficient. Usually, the character grows into his/her name and it fits perfectly.

But other times I write a few chapters and get an urgent desire to change the character’s name immediately because . . .

1) I can’t stand it anymore
2) It’s just not their name
3) It doesn’t go well with the other characters’ names.
All this to say, I change my characters' names a lot. This would be a very time-consuming process if it weren’t for the handy Find & Replace tool. It quickly switches your characters' names, allowing you to be as indecisive as you please. (Imagine my dilemma when someday I realize that this convenience doesn’t work with kids).

Editing
Howard Ogden says, "Adverbs are guilty until proven innocent." When editing, you can do a quick search for each –ING or –LY suffix.You can go through your document one –ING word at a time and decide if it truly belongs there. It's a nice way to weed out weak suffixes from your novel. You can also do a search for works like:

-Was
-Suddenly
-Very
-Really
-Etc. 

Proofreading
I wish that I could say that the Find & Replace button spots your typos and fixes them. As far as I know, it does not. However, it comes in very useful when you’ve had someone edit a hard copy of your book and the page numbers don't match the format of your digital document. Here's what I do: look for a unique word near the typo, do a search for it, and then BAM you’re right at the spot you need to fix.

Discover Fun Trivia
How many times did you use your MC’s name? How about your secondary characters? Want to find out who starred in your novel? It might surprise you! My secondary character Cody surfaced 51 times in my novel One Summer’s Desire. The friendly foe, Destiny, appeared 100 times. The MC's sidekick, Aubrey, showed up 118 times.

I hope this helps you improve and speed up your writing and editing process! What have you used the Find & Replace feature for?  

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