10 steps for editing your writing


When I’m not playing at being a writer, I actually work as a primary teacher and part of teaching writing to children is to teach them how to edit their work to make it even better.   I spend a lot of time at work going over editing checklists and different activities with the students to guide them through the process of being a writer.  As a teacher, I’m really particular about editing and really make it a big focus in my English lessons.  Yet, as a writer, I’m never quite sure about the editing process.  Sure, I know the process that I should probably go through, but editing is one of those tricky things that doesn’t really have an end point.  There always seems like something new to be fixed or improved!

Today I’m lucky enough to be joined by the lovely Sandra Miller,  a freelance edtech writer from Brooklyn.  A few weeks ago, Sandra pitched me her idea for a guest post about editing and I thought it would be fantastic to get another perspective on the process.  Here are her suggestions to guide you through your next edit!

10 steps for editing your writing

Editing work is much more laborious than writing itself for most writers. Much time is spent during editing whether the article or essay is fiction, nonfiction or poetry writers should evaluate their own writing and transform it from something that is complete but nothing more to something that is completely compelling. The following tips will give you a head start in professional editing:

1. Take a break

One should step away from the computer and relax fully for a few hours or day’s .instead writer can pursue another writing project, perhaps, or catch with family and friends before circling back and manipulating his/her manuscript. After the break the mind is able to capture everything and editing is done very fast. Writing of a synopsis or an abstract is also good before revision.

2. Hands Off

This is reading the entire manuscript without changing anything or making notes about major fixes or other key corrections for later attention. The writer shifts to a reader setting. Read from cover page to conclusion. Some people print the piece out in hard copy as it’s easier for them to notice the details more when in print.

3. Parts of Speech

Focus, one type at a time, on the parts of speech: Notice nouns, and choose more precise terms and employ elegant variation. Use of a dictionary with synonyms listed, or a thesaurus or a synonym finder is better. Writers should not go overboard especially with variations and sentences should be constructed in active form.

Adjectives and adverbs should not be omitted without justification. Lastly use of terms is also very important be sure of the precise meaning of the words used in writing, newly acquired or long since adopted terms.

4. Sentence Structure

Simple sentences and understandable are the best. The person reading the article will save much time as he/she will easily understand its meaning. Long Sentences that last an entire paragraph need to be snipped into palatable pieces.

Sentences come out best in an active form as more passive sentences structure produce an enervating effect. Insertion of parenthetical phrases is better inserted mid-sentence as they save the last position for the impact. And unless you’re consciously incorporating iambic pentameter, beware of sentence rhythms that may subconsciously sap readers’ energy. Too much alliteration or assonance can weary the most dedicated reader.

5. Deemphasize Emphasis

Writers should reduce much emphasis of something and reduce the use of italics, scare quotes and exclamation points as they weaken the cumulative impact.

6. Tone and Voice

During writing maintain authority and austerity and appraise your writing for its personality. When writing a how-to, be conversational. If writing a period fiction, be alert for anachronisms.

Word check is required to notice the words used too often, search the words and get to know how to use them and make them appear more reasonable frequent.

7. Reconstruction

Reconstruction of sentences during revision is frequent as one may develop new details and decide to discard a statement. Revisions are so much significant it does not matter how much tie you will take getting your manuscript right.

8. Keywords

Grammatical mistakes are checked in the manuscript by the writer to make sure the audiences that will read the article don’t find grammatical errors.

9. Recite Makes Right

Read the manuscript one more time and aloud. A recitation lets you listen to the rhythm of the writing and catch any clunky or laboriously long sentences missed out or   words omitted.

10. Editor’s Notes

An editor will give a guide and directions during publishing and may request for another revision of the writing .after that your work is ready to be published and go online.

Sandra Miller is  a freelance edtech writer from Brooklyn and uses professional editing regularly.  She has PhD in English literature. You can reach her at Google+

If you’ve got a great idea for a guest post, I’d love to hear from you.  Visit the Collaborate section of Frankly Books to find out more!


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