Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prize Winner and Editing Our Work

Congratulations to Pink Panther, winner of the weekly drawing! No not the Peter Sellers Pink Panther. This is someone who likes Pink Panther and uses it as an email address. I'll email her and let her know she won a PDF download of either OUT OF THE BLUE or NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES.

We edit our writing for several reasons: To check for typos; to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases; and to tighten writing and increase the pace. When I worked for a newspaper, we were not allowed to proof our own final work. We knew what we meant to say, which made catching errors difficult. Writers don't have co-workers helping read final drafts. We do have  critique partners, friends, and family members who can help read our final draft.

Checking for typos is not as easy as you'd imagine. Certainly Spell Check has helped all writers, but it will not highlight a wrong word or a homonym. If we type "red" for "read," for instance, our error sails past Spell Check because "red" is spelled correctly.

Eliminating unnecessary words. A writer friend needed to cut words to meet her publisher's word count. Deleting unnecessary conjunctions, "the," and "that" reduced her word count sufficiently. For instance, "The man who stood on the deck" would be "He stood on deck."  Connected prepositional phrases can create an unwieldy sentence. For instance, "He stood on the deck in the dark with the fog that was around him" could be "Swirling fog surrounded him on the dark deck." Better to eliminate the final prepositional phrase too, but I'm in a hurry this morning or I'll be late for church. LOL

Tightening text by rewriting and deleting are well worth our time. Tighter text equals faster pace. Fast pace keeps readers engaged.

Thanks for stopping. Please leave a comment.


Janine said...

The AutoCrit Editing Wizard is an awesome partner for tightening your writing. It finds a lot of the things that are easily missed because you know what you meant to say.

I love it. It really improves my manuscript and lets me give my crit partners a cleaner manuscript.

Caroline Clemmons said...

cThanks for sharing, Janine. I am not familiar with that program but will check it out.

Beth Trissel said...

Eliminating unnecessary words is indeed a challenge. I'm never sure I've got it quite right.