Pick up any great novel, and you’ll begin to notice there’s something distinct about the author. We writers call that her voice. It is what makes their writing unique. It is why they’ve gathered followers to read the next novel in a series.
Unfortunately, that same tendency to write something unique and powerful also can be our downfall. Too unique scares agents and publishers. Too unique makes our sales dive, and worse, makes people think we can’t even write!
A balance exists between our voice, and well…just plain bad writing. As we’re trying to find our balance, we may notice flaws. We all have them. Yes, my friend that includes you. We writers are writing flawed. When it comes time to edit, we must identify the difference between our voice and our weaknesses.
Review your WIP. What tendencies make the writing weak? Maybe it’s the use of certain crutch words. Maybe it’s the vivid details and descriptions or a simple grammar error that you tend to repeat. If you struggle to identify these weaknesses, enter your WIP in a contest. Let the judges tell you your flaws.
Either way, when it comes to editing, create a list of your common writing flaws. Use this list to set goals. As you edit, focus on these weaknesses. Not only will this improve your WIP, but it will make you a better writer.