By: Stephanie Burkhart
I've heart it said writing is 10% writing and 90% editing. I can honestly say that's the case. Self-editing is truly a talent that has to be developed over time. There are some great books with self-editing pointers including characters, plot, and dialogue, but today I'm going to keep it easy – there's always a stronger word.
Example: Annie got the book she wanted.
There's a better verb for the sentence above and a great "place" to find what you're looking for is a thesaurus. You can discover a ton of alternative words to "punch up" your sentence. My thesaurus is never far from my laptop.
New Example: Annie received the book she wanted.
Fresher Example: Annie received the novel she wanted.
Freshest Example: The book Annie wanted fell into her lap.
Reinvigorated Example: Annie's tattered and threadbare novel offered her happiness.
Self-editing takes time so be sure to dedicate the time for it. Things to look for: verb use (weak versus strong) and "punchier" descriptors. I just finished reading Janet Evanovich's "One for the Money," and I loved it. She's mastered the use of better/strong words to create an entertaining novel with a great economy of words. She paints graphic visuals with just a stroke.
Here's another self-editing tip: Be a reader, too. The more you read, the more you can give to your own writing.
Question: Do you have any self-editing tips that work for you that you'd like to share?
Have a blessed and happy new year!
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She's also a cub scout den leader and a frazzled taxi mom. Her books with 4RV Publishing include: The Giving Meadow and First Flag of New Hampshire.
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