Guide Editing Ideas for Writers

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With fresh eyes you can see and tackle all of these problems. The master editor Sol Stein recommended in his book, On Writing, that when editing, rather than working through it line by line, focus on the major problems first, such as characterisation, plotting, dialogue, theme. When revising line by line you encounter a mix of problems, from tiny to significant. When you encounter a major one, your attention is consumed by that and you end up re-drafting whole paragraphs and sections.


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This is how inconsistencies crop up, which cause further headaches. We strive to write beautiful, florid prose rich with imagery. But if a piece is riddled with adjectives and adverbs it can create problems for the reader, as literary agent Noah Lukeman points out:. They have their place. Think of them as a fine seasoning.

How to Self-Edit Your Novel

Add too much and it spoils the broth. Do their jaw muscles tighten? Do they clench their fists? In showing us something, you can cut out sentences of info-dumpy description. Lukeman gives a good example. Rather than telling us a character is a thief, why not show him stealing a twenty pound note. Allowing the reader to read into these actions is infinitely more interesting and engaging. To overcome this problem, consider the following:.

Telling does have its place, however, particularly in the likes of short stories. Telling can help progress a plot. If a noun tells the same story without the attached adjective, leave it on the cutting room floor. These words often lurk in your transitions and use two or three words when one will do.

Yes, you do have to standardize aspects of your writing. Obeying the rules of grammar, structure, and style makes your writing stronger. However, everything else—your voice, your point of view, your process—should come from you. Maybe your quirks are more process-oriented—you work from an outline, or you always write your first drafts in a single, frenzied sitting.

Personal, memorable writing attracts returning readers and builds your following. Meeting your word count is only half the battle.

She is also the co-host of the new Managing Editor Show podcast, which takes a fun-filled approach to the daily trials and tribulations common to digital writers and their editors. Toggle navigation Blog. What's CoSchedule? Test every headline before you publish. In fact, most people use one trick in particular: Let someone else do it. Full Name Start Here. Email Address. Phone Number. What best describes you?


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  5. How many marketers work at your company? What is your main goal? Submit Previous. Prepping your download! Your download should start shortly. Clean up the chaos with your CoSchedule editorial calendar! Start Your Free Trial. Varied sentence lengths create rhythm, control pace, and help hold your reader's attention to the And while you might think you need certain adverbs for clarity, look for more specific ways to Scan your writing yourself to find and correct any egregious uses of passive voice.

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    If you find a gerund attached to a passive verb, swap out the phrase for a single active verb Embrace your quirks! They're what set your content apart. What's your top content editing tip? Whenever they publish a new post on their blog, it always gets dozens of comments and hundreds of shares. Every new blog post attracts dozens of comments and hundreds of shares. The good news is that there are some proofreading and editing tips that you can easily learn which will improve everything you write from now on.

    Fortunately for you, a few simple proofreading and editing tips can transform your writing forever. You know your writing heroes?

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    Editing Techniques for Writers with ADHD

    Would you be shocked to learn that their writing is no better than yours? Sure, the end product is better, but the first draft is just as clumsy, flabby, and downright difficult to read as any of your own writing efforts. Think of your draft as a rough diamond. Value is hidden inside it and you need an expert gem cutter to reveal its beauty and clarity. Which is why many top bloggers hire a copy editor or proofreading service to transform their rough diamonds into gleaming jewels.

    No wonder their writing seems so much better than yours.

    Writing Tips « Writers Workshop: Writer Resources « The Center for Writing Studies, Illinois

    Grammar expletives are literary constructions that begin with the words it , here , or there followed by a form of the verb to be. Expletive comes from the Latin explere , meaning to fill. Think smelly literary landfill. The problem? When it , here, and there refer to nouns later in the sentence or — worse — to something unnamed, they weaken your writing by shifting emphasis away from the true drivers of your sentences. And they usually require other support power words such as who , that , and when , which further dilute your writing. Train yourself to spot instances of there , here , and it followed by a to be verb such as is , are , was, and were and adjust your sentences to lead with the meat and potatoes of those sentences instead.

    For example:. Certain uses of to be in its various forms weaken the words that follow. The solution is to replace these lightweights with more powerful alternatives.