Writing a book is harder than I thought!

bookCropedWell after three years I have pretty much finished the basic content of my book on healing but I’m stuck at the editing stage. It is far too expensive to pay someone to do it but I just found this helpful site.

I pasted in a few of my paragraphs and hey presto, it showed me dozens of potential problems with my writing style. Kind of good I guess but a bit depressing too. I will start by trying to improve the forward.

Here it is:

I cannot pinpoint the exact time or date when the penny dropped for me but I know there was a moment when it did. It was not just that God wanted to supernaturally heal people but that he would. I knew it with more certainty than I knew almost anything else. A solid conviction had appeared like a cube of steel in my heart. It was heavy, real, tangible and totally un-squashable.

It all happened so quickly I’m not sure which came first, the reasoning or the conviction. The argument could have led to the conclusion or the conviction could have constructed its own justification. In any case, my thinking went like this: “If the person who wrote the bible didn’t realise the massive expectation that they were building for supernatural healing in the minds of future readers then they were a pretty poor communicator.”

Now, I believe the bible to be, not just the work of many people over many hundreds of years, but fully inspired and authored by God. And since God (who is the communicator) is the author there is simply no way that he is unaware of the impression that his book gives: Namely that Christians will see lots and lots of miraculous healings. I certainly cannot imagine him saying “Oh, yes, now you come to mention it, it does sort of come across like that doesn’t it?”

It wasn’t so much that any particular passage persuaded me, but that the bible as a whole, from Genesis to Revelation spoke with one voice on the matter. A single drop of water falling on your nose doesn’t necessarily mean rain. After all, it could have been blown from a waterlogged leaf on a nearby tree, but when you are soaked from head to toe and all around you puddles are filling up fast it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than that the heavens have opened. Previously, I had spent time looking at individual passages but when I stepped back and considered the bible as a whole, especially the New Testament, there was really only one conclusion: God did heal and he would heal.

At the time, God was encouraging our church to “reach for fruit”. With the eye of faith we could see all kinds of fruit that was there for the taking, if only we would reach out for it. We decided therefore to make “Reaching for Fruit” the title of the next years preaching series. It would have three strands and I was thrilled when it was agreed that my part would be called “Reaching for Fruit in Supernatural Healing”.

My original plan was to break it up into three parts and look at healing in the gospels, healing in Acts and healing in the Old Testament. In the end, it took a year to go through the first two so the latter would have to wait for another time. This book documents the things that God spoke to me, and the church, over that year. It is based on the material I preached and through it I invite you to join us in reaching for fruit in supernatural healing.

Apparently I need to remove:
2 occurrences of “could” and “have”.
9 of “it” or “there”.
1 of “knew” or “know”.
3 adverbs (“-ly” words”).
3 of “that”.
12 of “was” or “were”

5 sentences are too long:
“all around you puddles are filling up fast” is not good. It it wants me to remove “you” I think.
“unsquashable” is not a word but I like it so it’s probably going to stay.
”. it does not like this little combo ie closing speech marks followed by a full stop. I think I need to move full stops inside quotes at the end of sentences.

Active verbs are preferable to active ones:
“I was thrilled when it was agreed” -> I was thrilled when we agreed
“it could have been blown from a waterlogged leaf” -> it could have blown from a waterlogged leaf

I need a lot less sticky words
Sticky words are the 200 or so most common words in the English language (excluding pronouns). They do not add much meaning but are used to glue other words together. I have several sticky sentences that slow a reader down. Too many sticky words in them and not enough content.
At the time, God was encouraging our church to “reach for fruit”. With the eye of faith we could see all kinds of fruit that was there for the taking, if only we would reach out for it.” 

I used 2 clichés which are not always good apparently.
 “from head to toe”
“there for the taking”

Simplify
“there is” could be too wordy: “And since God (who is the communicator) is the author there is simply no way that he is unaware of..”
“so” could be better than “therefore” : We decided therefore to make “Reaching for Fruit” the title of the next years preaching series
“Before” could be better than “previously”: “Previously, I had spent time looking at individual passages”

The following words are vague and abstract:
Would
All
Like
Almost
Anything
Quickly
Simply
Really

And that’s all the free version tells me. Just these few sentences would cost $20 for a professional editor to do. The pro version of the software works with Microsoft Word and would let me see and edit the problems in word itself. It costs $35 for 1 year which sounds reasonable. Here is another similar looking bit of software but it cost $90 (The cheaper one says it is better). The other problem was that when I read the forward through again it did  seem rather clumsy and clunky. I then read a few other sections however, and they really stirred my faith. It’s so great to have a record of what God taught me over that year and how he built up my faith through his word.  I do feel God encouraging me/telling me to finish the book though so I will press on. At the very least working on it helps me keep healing at the forefront of my mind and builds my faith.

 

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