A Few Quick Editing Tips

Right now, I’m elbows-deep in edits. Every time I edit, I pick up new tips and techniques to make my writing better (at least, I *think* I’m going in the right direction). So, here are a few I’ve picked up along the way.

Editing Tips

  1. Some sentences are too complicated
    • While complicated sentences can be fun for readers, if you have to reread your own sentence to figure out what you meant, it’s probably too convoluted.
  2. Ditch the filter words!
    • e.g. She didn’t “think” something, it just is.
      • Examples of filter words: think, feel, know, believe, seems, notice, spot, see, realize, wonder, decides
  3. White space is useful
    • Both readers and publishers like a lot more white space than back when the classics were being published. Costs were tighter then. Don’t be afraid to break up a paragraph into something shorter.
  4. Maybe you don’t need to find the right word
    • I love knowing there is a word with just the right meaning, but if I have to keep hitting the dictionary to verify the word means what I think it means… maybe I’m using five-dollar words when a five-cent word would do. Obviously, this decision is based on the character speaking and the intended audience.
    • If I’m looking for a synonym for a word so I don’t use it a third (or more) times on the same page… maybe I’m dwelling a little too much on describing that thing. Pick one description and go with it. It’ll be punchier and step up the pacing.

Are there any editing tips you’ve learned along the way?
Any that you don’t usually see mentioned, but really helps your story shine?


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