I started fixing the little things:
- I got all my em and en dashes straight (pun fully intended). There were 206 of them, and they are now correctly formatted.
- I started looking for the “to” that should have been a “too.” There were 1354 occurrences of “to.”
- I looked for the “of” that should have been an “off.” There were 1050 of those.
- I have not yet checked to find the “if” that should have been a “whether.” Only 138 to investigate.
- I replaced “pajama” with “pajamas.” (I had no idea that’s a plural. I learned something new.)
- I changed “tore his eyes off” to “tore his attention off.” (Can’t have odd mental pictures distracting the reader.)
- Oh, and I added a “that” to make things clearer in a sentence early in chapter one. There are now 58,998 words to this novel. If I could manage to add just 100 words to every chapter, I’d have …
… 64,198 words, which is a good starting length for a genre mystery. The problem here is that I scrutinize every single word. You know the whole “don’t use adverbs, choose better verbs instead” deal. I’m all about better verbs, active language, no fluff i.e. adjectives. So adding just 100 words is a major deal. I’m way better at cutting (a habit from my editor days) than adding; I’m a ruthless wielder of the delete key.
I'm now going to mop my floors. There's nothing like some housewifely chores in the middle of the night to make you forget about the 1354 occurrences of “to” you had to check.