Writer’s Home Remedies: Three Great Editing Tips

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Hi Everybody,
Just stopping through to share three important writing tips with you.

I recently read some of a dear friend’s pages, and although I enjoyed what I read, I thought it could use some polishing.

The following tips evolved from my email to her. Enjoy.


1. THINK ECONOMY. Publishing is very subjective. Editors, agents and publishers look for tight, polished writing. They don’t like wordiness, unless it’s a specific character trait you’re showing through a bunch of long-winded sentences. They expect your narrative to be economical, which means EVERY WORD COUNTS. When you put things in your story, it’s an instant signal to the reader that this is going to be important in the story. For example, if you write that one of your character’s eyes is slightly smaller than the other, the reader will file this information in her head and expect it to be fleshed out in the story. If it’s not, she’s going to be pretty ticked off with you.

Lesson: If it’s not important, it shouldn’t be in your story at all.

2. THINK POV (POINT-OF-VIEW). Whose eyes are you telling your story through? This will determine the point of view (POV). If it’s 1st POV, the reader will be limited to the mind of the MC (main character). If it’s 3rd POV omniscient, the reader can see into everyone’s mind. Rarely will you (the writer) switch back, forth and sideways into every character’s mind (unless you’re a skilled writer), because this will only confuse the reader…and tick him/her off.

Lesson: Choose a POV and stick to it.

3. BE BRUTAL. Or, as writers call it, TRIM THE FAT. Learn to slice your descriptions down to the bare bones. Use only what you need to move the story forward. For instance, suppose you’re writing a sentence about a heroine who has had a long day. You might write:

I’m tired, she thought to herself.

But this simple sentence is already too long. Here’s why: If she thought it, of course she was thinking it to herself, thus you don’t need the last two words…to herself. So you nix them and save two words!

Lesson: Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

I know this is a “quickie” of sorts, but my friend said it helped her tremendously, so I thought I would pass it on to help you.

In any event, that’s all for now. Until next time, best wishes and happy writing,

Rita Lorraine

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