Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A “find and replace” trick I just thought of. (Yes, it took me long enough.) When I am doing a global replacement for a word or two, I am not always sure where it will show up in my story.

Everyone has had to deal with the horror of replacing a word, only to find that group of letters inside another word. You get some VERY interesting results when that happens. I soon learned to put a space before and after the original word and the replacement word. Problem solved, except for the cases where your word started or ended a paragraph. Or was the first/last word in a quote.

What I thought of today is to drop the first letter of the replacement FOR SOME REPLACEMENTS.

I had written a chapter and mistakenly used “thunder storm” as two words. I knew it was used throughout the story, and would be in all the places where my previous trick wouldn’t work.

What I came up with was to replace “hunder storm” with “hunderstorm”. I got everything I needed. It didn’t matter where they were used. I kept it capitalized when I needed it. It didn’t matter where is showed up in quotes.

I’m sure it isn’t perfect. That there will be places where it doesn’t work. But, I now have another method that will help with the chore of revisions.


  1. This was a very useful blog -- I don't how many times I've messed up an entire manuscript by just changing something the -- what I now call -- old way.

  2. Instead of doing an automatic find and replace so that it replaces all, you can do it so it goes through one by one. Hit Find Next. That way, you can view each one before you hit the Replace button. This obviously takes longer, but you make sure you get the result you want. If you're paranoid like me, this is a good answer.