Writing Hint #44: Edit, edit, edit

Over recent days I have highlighted the different stages of writing:

Step 1: Plan

Step 2: Write

Step 3: Rewrite

Step 4: Edit

The editing stage is often overlooked by inexperienced writers. This is a crucial stage in the writing process. In the editing stage you need to go back over every word in the piece of writing; it doesn’t matter if it’s a fifty word filler paragraph or a five hundred thousand word novel.

Check for these things:

  1. Check Spelling: spelling mistakes are avoidable; check – don’t assume it’s right.
  2. Use the correct homophones: get to know the difference between know and no, right, rite and write, to, too and two. There are dozens more.
  3. Use the right word: make sure you are using the right word for the context. For example, “She gave the allusion that she was very intelligent.” The correct word should be “illusion.”
  4. Punctuation: make sure it is all there – and that it is used correctly. Study the classic authors and how they use punctuation for effect.
  5. Check your typing: no matter how carefully you type, errors will creeep in – see what I mean? Get someone else to check for typos. And watch out for words that have been missed out. (I actually found one after I published this article.)
  6. Check your use of apostrophes: mastering these is crucial. If you don’t, the Apostrophe Police will come knocking at your door, headed by my daughter.
  7. Cut out all unnecessary words: ideally, this is done in the rewriting stage. Avoid padding just to reach the word count. (I just cut out four unnecessary words from that last sentence.)
  8. Grammar: use correct grammar. This is too big a topic for this short article.

Good writing.

Further reading:

Remember:

  • Read every day.
  • Write every day.
  • Take time for yourself every day.
 

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