Dup [doop]

k and j officeThe Midwife’s Confession is due a week from tomorrow, so if I blog this week at all, it will not be with anything profound! Right now I’m writing drafts three and four at the same time. Hard to explain, but that’s what I’m doing. (Keeper and Jet are helping me organize the mess of paper on the floor of my office).

To simplify, I’ve gone over the entire second draft in manuscript form and made changes by hand. Now I’m putting those changes, chapter by chapter, into the document on the computer. After 50 pages or so, I take a break from the computer, print out the part of draft three I’ve just created, work on that by hand, put those changes into the document, thus creating draft four. Get it? No? I can’t imagine why not.

Meanwhile, John is reading draft four as I turn it out, jotting down what works for him and what doesn’t. Once I’m done with draft four, I’ll take a look at his comments and create draft five. Then I’ll do the read-aloud. All this means no sleep for Diane this week!

So what does this have to do with the title of the blog post? Well, as I go through the manuscript, I constantly find words I think I’ve overused. I jot dup above the word. Dup stands for duplicate. Then when I input the changes into the document on the computer and I come to one of those words, I do a “find” to see how many times I’ve used the word and also, to make sure that different characters don’t use the same unique word. For example,  if one character always says she’s “psyched,” I want to make sure another character doesn’t say the same thing.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from my brother Rob’s blog. He’s blogging here about his own writing:

First I check for the words I tend to overuse. They are usually the bits of physical punctuation that fit between lines of dialog, like frown, shrug, and sigh. (My sister Diane Chamberlain says that the characters in her novels tend to wince too much, which suggests that while being in one of my works is boring, being in hers is actually painful.)

That just cracks me up!

 Anyhow, I’m going to get back to drafts three and four right now.  I’ll check back in later this week. Have a good one!


  1. Margo on May 3, 2010 at 8:26 am

    We’ll be thinking of you this week Diane…I understand the part about writing draft 3 & 4, but after that you’ve lost me…I have to admit I don’t quite ‘get it’…oh well, I’m not a writer so I can’t be expected to understand, right?
    I know you have your writing process down to a science and this has to be an exciting part for you (even tho you’ll have very little sleep)…from what I can tell you’re almost done with this manuscript…and that has to feel pretty darn good! (-O:
    P.S….absolutely LOVE your babies…they are gorgeous!

  2. Diane Chamberlain on May 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Can’t imagine why you’re confused!!!

  3. Rob Lopresti on May 4, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for the plug, sis. Can you believe my joint blog, Criminal Brief, is starting its fourth year next week?

    I like to use tagcrowd.com to search for dups in my writing. Works very well and it’s free.

    Good luck on your many drafts.

  4. brenda on May 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I think Rob’s comment is funny and profound at the same time-you have a great family..>Will be thinking of you this week.

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