Editing can be tricky when you’re down to the final round. You might feel burnt out. You’ve probably read your work over and over as you’ve been writing it. And if you’ve already reviewed for the big picture stuff—plot, story arc, characters, dialogue, and on and on—then a final review to make sure everything makes sense can be both the icing on the cake and the devil in the details.
My mom showed me a poem once where the last line said, “The typographical error is the olny thing you see.” She spent years typing on a typewriter, so when they read something to correct it, they were usually doing that last layer of editing. No one likes to use white out when they type, so you only changed misspellings or something that affected the way the document would be read.
(I’m so glad we work on computers now so we can obsess about every word!)
But the result is the same. If you print out your document and you missed something in the edit, you can guarantee that it will be in the heading or the largest word on the page or something else equally important. Continue reading
I am officially a word nerd, and I love having a broad vocabulary. This attribute is a huge benefit to writers because it lets us use fewer words to say exactly what we mean.
I fully admit to reading the dictionary. Twice. Once out of boredom and once as I was studying for the ACTs/SATs. Yes, I know I’m weird, but it was helpful to pick up some extra words I didn’t know, refresh my memory on words I did know, and look at relationships between words with similar roots. It also made me think about the deeper meaning associated with the words.
When you select words for your writing, you have to consider their connotation (implication or undertone) with their denotation (actual dictionary definition).
The connotation is what’s important when we are working. It gives flavor to synonyms. It’s the difference between calling someone “brilliant” and “stellar” and between “helpful” and “invaluable.” Continue reading
Just this year, I learned that editors aren’t writers’ favorite people. I guess I should have suspected that.
As someone who has been on the receiving end of redlines, I get it. It’s tough to pour your heart across the page only to have someone look at it, say “nope,” and tear it apart. Not only does this damage your self-esteem, it also means that all the work you just put into that article, manuscript, etc. was just the start. With analysis of your work comes countless hours of scrubbing and struggling to get that phrasing just right. Continue reading
I’ll let everyone in on a little secret. Like my character the Editor Brigand, I adore editing, and like many authors, I could spend an eternity tweaking and preening my text to perfection. However, I know that most people don’t have the time or desire to do this, so I’m presenting my tips for editing a variety of text (from social media postings to award applications to novels and yearly reports) to help you know what to look for to groom your text to perfection and move on. Continue reading
Most writers know that following up with an edit will help you catch your mistakes, but what if you already know what mistakes you frequently make? How can you truly stop something that you probably aren’t thinking about as you are writing? Is there a way to prevent those mistakes to begin with? How do we correct our own fatal writing flaws? Continue reading
When I started at my first job as a professional writer, I needed to know exactly how many words I had to write for each piece, even if I wasn’t given a specific number. Somehow, I had fallen into a trap of writing to meet a word count during college, like it was a goal I had to stretch to accomplish. Have you written something for a class before and fallen short? How did you expand the piece? Did you go back through and pepper in a few more words? Did they enhance the story . . . or the word count? Continue reading
If you are serious about being a writer, then you absolutely need to have someone review your work, no matter how experienced you are with writing. I recently spoke on this topic—and about finding my voice as I was, ironically, raspy from allergies. No one writes alone. All professionals have someone review their work or work with a group before presenting to the public.
It is especially important for writers who are self-publishing. Continue reading