Bleck! Editing is one of the most tedious tasks a writer has to do. I’d take research over editing any day! I don’t just dislike editing because of the laborious nature of the task. It’s more my writer’s ego gets in the way sometimes: we think that everything we type is gold and don’t want to cut it, but in reality, not everyone understands our humour so to save the piece we have to edit. If you suffer from this dread, then you might find my editing hacks helpful.
1. Turn negatives into positives. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer, and it’s even more poignant when writing because readers want to feel motivated or uplifted after reading your piece not depressed (unless that’s what you were going for). So, ditch the ‘don’ts’, ‘shouldn’ts’ and ‘can’ts’ and replace them with ‘doing’ words.
2. Redundant words gotta go
I’ve said it before, but it needs reiterating – why say in three words what can be said in two? Inexperienced writers often use multiple words for emphasis without realising that a powerful verb or adjective can do the same job and give the sentence more punch. For example ‘he walked fast into the room and placed his hands on the desk aggressively’ is expressed better as ‘he strode into the room and slammed his hands onto the desk’. The second sentence conveys more emotion in fewer words.
3. Watch your tense
Switching between past tense and present tense is easy to do, particularly in creative writing. Either writing form is fine as long as it is used consistently throughout your piece.
4. Learn your tics
Everyone has their unique tics – a common phrase they use or nervous habit. Writers have tics too in the form of frequent mistakes. Mine? I used to lapse into mistake number 3 when creative writing! I also need to watch my overuse of redundant words. Once you know your tic, it will make editing your piece easier.
These are just some of the tools I use to take the stress out of editing. Of course, there are many other hacks which I will touch on at a later date. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to discuss editing or writing, please do not hesitate to contact me.