TIPS FOR SELF EDITING.

Jul 29 2020, 10:00 am in

 

First draft finished. Woot. It’s strong and somewhat as bloated as a T-Rex.

As a writer my goal is to have the reader devour every word I put on the page and keep them turning those pages. I strive to make my writing crisp and to the point. Before a manuscript goes to my editor I go through several self-editing steps. First, I search for weak works and phrases, redundant words, and overused and unnecessary words. If I’m writing in a series I refer back to my series bible and make sure characters who appeared in previous books have the same color eyes and hair etc.

Next, I read the story aloud or have a program read it back to me. I catch many things that way.   

My job is to de-bloat my story like these pink birds tackled the T-RexHere are some editing tips you may find useful to de-bloat your WIP.

Weak words and phrases. 

Weak words drain the power from what you write. Watch for these weak words: even, very, some, sometimes, occasionally, before, maybe, really, often, especially, somewhat, actually, few, fairly, many, most, and just.

Some editors insist you never use just. I use just when I speak and consequently insert it into my work. It’s the first word I search to remove.  

Wasted phrases and vague words.

Do you best to eliminate these wasted phrases: in order to, by means of, in fact, for the purpose of.  and any other combination of wordy words that can be deleted and not missed. 

The more specific a word or phrase is, the more information the reader has. The more information the reader has increases their connection to your story. We want to keep readers hooked.  Using vague, useless wasted words unhooks them.

A little pregnant.  Somewhat hungry. Halfway angry. Say they’re hungry or angry. Start to. Start is sufficient. He almost exploded.  Either he did or didn’t. 😯 

Redundant words.

Using two words when, by definition, you’ve said it twice. For example, baby puppies.  Puppies are babies. The word baby is unnecessary. Examples. 

Flinch back

Crouch down

Stand up

Sit down

Climb up

Kneel down

Frigid ice

Honest truth

Burning hot

Short midget

Tall giant

Protrude out

New recruit

Free gift

Bare naked

Completely naked

Burn down

Recur again

Cancel out

Basic fundamentals

Definite decision

Completely destroyed

Eliminate common overused and unnecessary words.

Search for— that, was, had, the, as if, but, when, again, against, by. It isn’t possible to eliminate all these words. But when that is used 13 times in one paragraph. Well…..some can go. 

Read your sentences with and without these words aloud. Decide which you prefer.

 

                   Happy editing.

                                             Rita   

 

 

 

 

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