You’ve come to the final word, on the final page of your manuscript. You’ve spent long days and long nights at the keyboard, and you want the end result to shine. So what’s next?
Editing for some writers is the grueling step-sister of the creative process, but it really should be more like the fairy godmother—enhancing and embellishing to perfection what’s already on the page.
Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll dive into some simple yet crucial edits to make your piece shine.
Our first editing tip is to avoid wordiness. We writers love to make words flow, but sometimes we overstate our points. So as you start to edit, look for areas of redundancy. Where have you repeated your point unnecessarily?
Have you used dialogue and tags to express the same actions over again? For example:
“What are you talking about?” He frowned, as if he were having trouble following.
Look closely. The character’s speech should already tell the reader he isn’t following, so it probably isn’t necessary to repeat this in the tag.
Delete pet-phrases like “just then”, “at that moment”, or “suddenly”; instead, show the reader these instances with action. Did he burst into the room? Was there a loud clatter which startled him?
As you begin to edit, you’ll notice obvious faults in your writing. Have no fear, dear friend! This is a part of the process. Don’t let flaws deter you from making your WIP shine; instead, celebrate the ability to discover areas of improvement and correct them. You and your piece will grow during the process.
4 thoughts on “Streamline: Basic Edits You Can Make to Improve Your Writing (Part 1)”
Good advice. We do need to step away from our manuscripts and come back with fresh eyes. Also reading it aloud is good to make sure it flows.
Hi Jann, yes. Reading aloud and looking again with fresh eyes are great tips! Thanks for sharing.