Learn to Cut Words Before You Write Them

Editing Exercises

By Annette Rey

Participating in writing exercises will help break writer’s block as well as improve your writing. Simple, short challenges work just as well. You wouldn’t waste energy exercising your body and not having a body part target in mind. Nor should you engage in writing exercises without a goal in mind for writing improvement.

The next exercise will help you target editing even before the editing stage.

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Write with Your Reader in Mind

Stop and Check for Clarity

By Annette Rey

As writers, we can get lost in our own words. We get absorbed in our stories and we concentrate on many aspects of putting our story together. Often, our fingers are moving slower than the speed of our mental thoughts, and mistakes are made.

Let’s put a concentrated eye on unclear sentences that confuse the reader. Once you become aware of these errors, you will be able to correct them.

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Ridding Your Work of Redundancies, Part Five and Part Six

Eliminating Additional Extras V and VI

By Annette Rey

Writers should strive for knowledge wherever it leads, and work hard to apply that knowledge. The search can be fun, just as writing can be fun. When you have the tools, the job is made easier.

So, let’s jump into the final post of this series and examine what publishers do NOT want to see in our work.

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Ridding Your Work of Redundancies, Part Three and Part Four

Eliminating Additional Extras III and IV

By Annette Rey

Writers are faced with many challenges in producing work, and with post-production issues. The life of the writer is a perpetual state of learning – or should be. To address, in part, both of these issues, today’s subjects in the Ridding Your Work of Redundancies series are verbosity and prolixity.

Let’s look at what publishers would like NOT to see in our work.

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Ridding Your Work of Redundancies, Part Two

Eliminating Additional Extras II

By Annette Rey

Everyone has specific ways of communicating, it’s one of the facets that makes us individuals. Most of us are not professorial in our speech and insert idiosyncratic expressions into our writing. These expressions may be considered unwanted in the written word.

You want to perfect your craft and want to present your work error-free. How can you do that without knowing the rules?

Here’s help.

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Ridding Your Work of Redundancies, Part One

Eliminating Additional Extras

By Annette Rey

Is your written work heavy with too many words?

As the subtitle suggests, writers unintentionally include unnecessary words in their first draft. During the editing process, your work needs to be made concise without sacrificing your original meaning.

Let’s look at one of the ways we add superfluous words and the remedy for it.

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Four Self-editing Tips

Suggested Steps to Improve Your Work

By Annette Rey

Sometimes writing flows and we think we are inspired. We think we are creating a good piece. And it may be very good. But all writing needs to be reviewed for errors and improvements.

The following four basic steps will help you to self-edit and will tighten up your creation.

One:  Go back to your work a day later to get a fresh perspective. Your subconscious mind has been working and will have improvements in store.

may-16-125Two:  Read your work aloud. Is your voice pausing in places? Perhaps you need to insert a comma. As you read, are you not pausing at a comma point? Review, and the comma may need to be removed. Reading aloud helps you sound for flow, but you should be familiar with punctuation rules. Reading aloud is also necessary in areas of dialogue to identify whether the exchange between characters sounds believable.

Three: Cut unnecessary words from your work. Some writers find this a difficult task as our words are our babies. As you attempt to cut, rearranging words for clarity seems to automatically occur.

Compare:

Original sentence: There are many unnecessary words used in sentences.

Edited sentence:   Many unnecessary words are often used in sentences.

Above is an attempt to shorten a sentence by cutting out the unnecessary words there are. The result is a better sentence of the same length. If you have constructed a good sentence, length is not important as long as the meaning is clear for your reader to understand.

Four: Double-check your work with reference manuals on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We fall into comfortable habits and speak imprecisely which often translates to errors in our writing.

Please share with me some of the techniques you use to correct your work.