Thursday, June 3, 2010

QUICK TIPS ON EDITING


When I first began writing, I hated the editing process. Now though, I love it and look forward to it.

Welcome My Guest: Judith Marshall, author of HUSBANDS MAY COME AND GO BUT FRIENDS ARE FOREVER and STAYING AFLOAT

So you finished the first draft. The next step is to edit what you've written. First, you must understand that 90% of writing is rewriting. With that in mind, here are a few things to look for?

1) Hooks. Read your first sentence. Does it hook the reader and made her want to read on? The job of a hook is also to set the tone for the book. Does it set the tone you want?

2) Rhythm and cadence. Read the first chapter out loud. Listen to the rhythm of each sentence. While it may be grammatically correct, it may sound wrong, or may be difficult to understand.

3) Style. Does the writing style fit the story or does it get in the way of the story? You want the reader to be immersed in the story, not impressed by your style.

4) Overuse or misuse of adjectives and adverbs. Begin with the first chapter and highlight each one. How many have you used? Do you need it and if so, is it the right descriptive word? Remember less is more.

5) Cliches. When you use a comparison or metaphor, you're telling the reader to stop and pay attention to a particular idea. You want your comparisons to be unique and precise.

6) Dialogue. Dialogue is a powerful tool that should be used sparingly, and at the right moment. Read your dialogue. Do we know who's speaking? Do you use identifiers effectively? Are you using 'said' to often? Could you replace it with yelled, cried, whispered, hissed, etc.?

7) Show vs. Tell. Remember as a writer your job is to show the reader what your characters are like by their actions. When you show instead of tell, where you used to have description you would have a scene.

There are several other elements to consider when editing such as point of view, vocabulary, punctuation, etc. But the above list will get you started.

Judith Marshall
Author of HUSBANDS MAY COME AND GO BUT FRIENDS ARE FOREVER (http://tinyurl.com/3a4k3c4) and
STAYING AFLOAT
www.judithmarshall.net

6 comments:

salarsenッ said...

#2 is an often overlooked element. Reading it out loud is a huge help. Yeah, adjectives and adverbs...little critters. Sometimes it's hard to determine whether one should be included or not. Just because it 'sounds' good doesn't mean it's necessary. But, just because the sentence could be used without it, doesn't mean it should.

Balance...sigh.

April said...

That's a great list. I actually love revising. I'm not sure, but I may like it even more than the original writing. I'm not sure why. But this is a good list, and just in time for me to start editing one of my WIPs!

Kelly Dexter said...

I also love editing! This is a great list, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

So glad this was helpful. If anyone has any more tips, please feel free to add them here.

Regards,

Judith Marshall

LM Preston said...

I believe having a list you check off while you are editing helps you to nail the obvious points that you would miss otherwise.

E. Arroyo said...

Thanks for the post. I too have a list. It helps.