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« Structuring a Critique Group Online | Main | Repetition: The Good, The Bad, and The Bad »

Contest!!!! And The Techie Post About Critting

Photo credit: Inky Girl

Before I get to today's post, I want to announce a new contest.  In honor of my focus on critting this week, I am offering a critique giveway!

Two winners will receive either a detailed critique of their first ten pages OR a query critique from me (winner's choice).  These crits will be private and not published on this site.  Now, I don't claim to be a professional editor, but I am a very detailed critter and give honest feedback, which I hope will be very helpful to whoever wins.

Alright, so here are the rules...

  • You must leave a comment on TODAY's post
  • You must be a follower (If you are not currently, you can join now.)
  • If you are already a follower, you get one extra entry (+1)
  • If you tweet about the contest (just hit the retweet button at the bottom of the post) or post it on your blog, you get an extra entry (+1)
  • No non-fiction (except memoir) or poetry please.
  • Comments will be cut off at midnight (central time) Friday night Jan. 15.
  • Winner will be announced on Monday's blog!

Good luck to everyone!  I look forward to reading the winners' work!

Now for today's post...

I do not pretend to be technically savvy.  I occasionally have a moment where I feel I've conquered some html thing that I thought I wouldn't figure out (like my fancy label section in the sidebar).  However, I thought it may be helpful to review how my critique group uses Microsoft Word to crit.  I know many of you probably already use these features, but for those of you who don't, I hope this proves useful.

In Microsoft Word (2007 version is what I'm using), there are these handy dandy review features.  So when you open your document, click on the tab at the top that says "Review".

This will bring up the options to "Track Changes".  Select this option.  It will now track any changes you make to the document in a different color.

Now when you make changes in the document, it will look like this (click on picture for bigger view):

Now for those things that you can't just correct inline, you have the comments feature.  To the left of the Track Changes button is a button labeled New Comment (see first picture above).  Make sure your cursor is at the point in the document where you want to make a comment.  Then press the New Comment icon.  A little bubble will appear out to the side where you can type your comment.  You can also highlight whole words, sentences, or passages, then hit comment and it will attach the comment to whatever you highlighted.

And remember this feature is great for pat on the back comments as well as critical ones.

So these are the basic features I use.  In addition to the review features, I also use the normal highlight capability to denote echoes.  I don't bother making a comment each time I see a repeated word, I just highlight each one to bring it to the person's attention.  An automatic comment will also appear in the sidebar since you are tracking changes. To highlight the word, just highlight the word with your cursor, then a little box will pop up, select the yellow (or whichever color you choose) option. (Click on pic to see bigger)

A few other time savers are coming up with abbreviations your crit buddies all know to put in the comment section:
SDT = Show don't tell
HD = Hidden dialogue (or buried dialogue)
awk = awkward
??? = What in the heck are you trying to say here?
And smiley faces and LOL's always work well too.
Alright, I'm sure that was as clear as mud.  I definitely don't need to quit fiction for technical writing.  :)  If any of you have questions about any of the above, feel free to ask them in the comments and I'll try to not confuse you further.

Now, for the purposes of the contest, please leave in your comment the number of entries you qualify for (if you're tweeting it, posting it, a follower, etc.).  If you do not want to enter, but want to leave a comment, just let me know "no entry".  Thanks and good luck!

**Today's Theme Song**
"Get the Party Started" - Pink
(player in sidebar, take a listen)

Reader Comments (35)

I think the biggest thing I see with this post, is Word 2007. I appreciate your deciphering some of the controls, the fact that they are in different places in every versions makes me nuts!

Thank you for taking the time to explain!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Thanks for the Word tips. I didn't know about the tracker feature.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle Strauss

What a great contest. I am crossing my fingers...

1 entry for the comment
1 entry for being a follower
1 entry on the retweet

3 entries total!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Tidd Murphy

Love the screenshots, but that Joker cartoon is HILLARIOUS!

I can always use fresh eyes, so I'm in for the crit. Put me down for 2 entries (follower/commenter) purdy please!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Cool contest (no entry)!

My new favorite word feature? The full page reader! It looks like a real book! You can get to it on the VIEW menu. It's awesomesauce!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElana Johnson

Oh oh enter me! Here is my comment:

Thanks for the awesome info on the editing features in Word. I love your STD and HD abbreviations :) I also think just highlighting repeated words is a great idea. I think I'm going to be adopting your critiquing techniques :)

So my totals:
Comment +1
Already following +2 (I think??)
Retweet +1
4 total? I'm bad at math and I don't have a calculator handy. Do double check!!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Paz

This has to be one of the most helpful posts I have ever read. I have wondered (forever) how to do many of those things. Thank you, thank you for this, Roni. :-)

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon O'Donnell

Good luck to everyone entering the contest. Don't include me for obvious reasons, dear crit partner.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan R. Mills

What a great contest! Please do enter me!

Oh, and I tweeted your contest @melissahelmers :)

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Great contest! I won't be entering, but I just wanted to say it. I'm impressed at your technical prowess, even if you don't think you have any.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie L. McGee

What a great contest!

I'm not a fan of Microsoft in general, but for critiquing manuscripts it's the best. I love track changes and don't know what I'd do without it!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Thornton

I learned this in my computer class. At first seemed real scary but I am so glad I took that class now!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristiejolu

I love track changes and the highlight option - not only in critiquing, but also to make notes in my manuscript for my own use ('look up', 'check reference', 'did I allude to this earlier?', 'awkward', etc).

Your post was very clear and the pictures really help with the instructions - I had to figure it out on my own after a friend sent me track changes and I didn't have a clue how to access them :)

Follower and Comment = 2. Thanks, Roni!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Comment. I tweeted you too >.<

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Hullender

??? = What the heck are you trying to say here? Bahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

Count me in please.

Follower +1
Post on blog +1
Retweet +1


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarahjayne smythe

This was a cool entry. I could really use this because I use Mircosoft for my manuscript as well.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Rejection Queen

I need a newer version of Microsoft Word, those features are awesome! Great contest Roni, but "no entry" I'm not ready for a crit yet.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb@RGRamblings

I really don't know what I'd do without track changes. It's such a useful tool. The abbreviations for critiquing are also great time savers.

Great contest by the way. I'm good with crits at the moment, so don't include me. :]

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTara McClendon

Oh, I guess Microsoft Works and Microsoff Word are not the same feature.

Sounds like a program I'm going to have to buy, as so many of my writer friends are already using it. That was great info though, and I'm sure I'll refer back to it when I can get the program.


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Hole

Please count me in! I'm linking back to you, too. I'd like to share your great blog!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Salisbury

Cool contest Roni. Enter me please. :) Oh and loved your info of crit other's work in Microsoft. Very Helpful .

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha Bird

very helpful!


January 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstaceyjwarner

i'm amazed you took the time to do this post! WOW. i bet it's helped a lot of folks. thanks for doing it!

jeannie" rel="nofollow">The Character Therapist

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie Campbell, LMFT

Heck, I want to enter. And I follow. Woo hoo.

Where were you when I was trying to figure out the Track Changes thing? Of course now that I know how to use it, I love it.

Great post!

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStina Lindenblatt

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