As I continue to learn more about writing, today’s topic is Revision, or rather editing your own work.
Now I haven’t a written book, I don’t even write hugely long blog posts. 🙂 So for the most part, to me editing is making my sentences run smoothly and watching my spelling. Occasionally though, I have a longer review, or a sticky post that takes me time to write.. and then the skills talked about in this chapter of Writing Tools comes into play.
The ability to be mindful of the words you are using. For instance… Do you have to use that adverb that merely shows emphasis? Is it really necessary in your book/article/blog post?
Do you have a paragraph or chapter that doesn’t truly advance your theme/idea/storyline? If it doesn’t advance it…cut it out. Why have more words for your reader to wade through for no reason? You generally want to make it easy for readers to make their way through your words.
Cut out the needless words and phrases, replace weak quotes with strong ones, and pull out anything that doesn’t truly fit. You aren’t here to please your English teacher, but to satisfy the needs of your readers. Focus on the job at hand, not on what you think aught to be doing. Do you know what I mean? Look to what your readers need instead of thinking primarily of language lessons learned.
Make the cuts yourself. It’s hard because we do so fall in love with our words and characters, but it’s necessary to learn how to edit and revise our own work. To see the potential that awaits when we make our work more succinct.
Make your work the best it can be, cut the unnecessary and make reading what you write the easiest you can make it for your readers. They will appreciate you for it!