Tricks for Editing your Final Draft more Efficiently

Tricks for Editing your Final Draft more Efficiently

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

Selecting Words Based on Shades of Meaning

Selecting Words Based on Shades of Meaning

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

My Best Writing and Editing Advice for 2016

My Best Writing and Editing Advice for 2016

For my 2016 wrap-up, I’ve sorted through all my blogs and pulled out the best advice for writers, from setting yourself up to write with the correct mindset to mitigating writer’s block to editing like a pro. Here are the best juicy tidbits, as well as links to the full blog post for more details.

Enjoy! And make the most of the last few days of 2016 by thinking about your writing! Continue reading

Do You have a Bad Writing Attitude? + Free Quiz

Do You Have a Bad Writing Attitude? + Free Quiz

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

The 4 Steps in Self-Publishing, Simplified + Free Download

The 4 Steps in Self-Publishing, Simplified

Those of you who have actually written and self-published a book may have laughed at the title of this one. “Simplified, eh?”

Committing yourself to the self-publishing path isn’t easy, but writing a book itself isn’t an easy path either. The issue that many people have, though, is that they aren’t sure what to do with the book once they finish it.

So here is a description of the journey you take when you self-publish your book. From writing through editing (an often skimmed-over step), the self-publishing process, and marketing.

Continue reading

5 Reasons Not to Rush the Writing Process

5 Reasons Not to Rush the Writing Process
Some people will promise you that you can write and publish a book in a weekend or a week or something else crazy like that. Really? A decent book in anything less than a month, not counting children’s books, is outlandish.

If you want anyone other than your mom and your BFF to read your book, why in the world would you rush it? Just because you can write a book in just a few days, doesn’t make it a good idea. You can do a lot of things quickly, but that doesn’t mean you should. (I recall the time I tried to quickly wash the dishes and ended up smacking a wine glass into the faucet. Grrrr!)

I get it. You’re busy. So am I! So is everyone else! But maybe cranking out a book, slapping your name on it, and sending it to the printer isn’t the best way to make you stand out as an author or expert. Continue reading

How to Review Your Writing Like a Professional Editor

How to Review Your Writing Like a Professional Editor
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