My Top Editing Tips
The writing process is fraught with many challenges and can be very time consuming, but for most of us it is a labour of love. Whether writing blog posts, short stories or non-fiction, the hardest part is usually the editing. Trying to finalise a piece and make it presentable enough to share with an audience can be very stressful so I thought I would share with you some tips that I have learned as a fledgling writer, teacher and blogger.
- Look away
When you have finished an initial draft of something, always give yourself some space from the project before attempting that very first proper edit. For a blog post, leave it an hour before returning to it. When writing a story, try to give it a few days or even a week and then you should be able to look at it again with fresh eyes. After this the editing can begin.
- Read it aloud
Find a quiet space and read out loud what you’ve written so far. I always find that my fluency improves so much after I have heard myself read my work aloud. You definitely quickly discover where something sounds repetitive or incoherent. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably won’t read right either.
- Check your pronouns
It sounds like a small thing but it really is important to make sure that you have used a selection of pronouns rather than just repeat ‘they’ and ‘he’ or ‘she’ over and over again.
Along with this, check that every sentence has a different starter. A long list of sentences beginning with ‘She’ can soon bore a reader and cause them to give up altogether. Careful editing of this can make all the difference.
- Read it to a trusted friend
This sounds pretty obvious but it’s not always something that people feel comfortable doing. Asking someone else to listen to your story or article can be very handy. They can tell you whether it flows or not and let you know their favourite parts. Once you know the best bits you can think about expanding these elements. This may even result in you cutting other parts out that didn’t seem to resonate as well.
- Be prepared to rearrange
At times, it may be useful to reorder the paragraphs within your text. Usually, having read it to yourself and showed it to a friend, you will have new ideas about the sequence. This may not be the case with a story so much but could apply to blogs. Even writing out these points, I have changed the order as I reviewed my content.
- Ask some questions
When you get to the stage of editing your work have these questions in mind:
1) Does your story or blog have a clear message?
2) Does it make sense on its own?
3) Are you able to summarise the story in a single sentence?
If you can say yes to these questions then you probably have something ready to publish.
- Let it go
There will come a time when you will have to let your project loose. Having followed the above steps, your short story or blog should be in a good position to fly. Be prepared to show the world and leave it to simmer for a while before thinking about it again. Then promote it with all of your energy and enjoy responding to readers’ comments. Comments, after all, make writing all the more worthwhile.
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Here is a post that I recently wrote about short story writing:
You can find out about my own writing here: