Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Curious Case of Editing

I have been carrying around a second draft of short story around in my handbag for the past week and now I feel the urge to scribble over the pages, make indents with my pen across sentences and get angry at myself for even considering those pitiful paragraphs.

I thought I would share my editing process:

Add notes around the page where the plot is too thin and needs more detail, then start crossing out purple prose sections.
Make sure your details are accurate and remain concise. You don’t want your main character having blue eyes in one chapter and then hazel in another.
Check grammar, spelling and punctuation. (I am bad of this one on the blog)
Check sentence structure – avoid overuse of adjective, adverbs and overindulging with run-on sentences that go on and on and on. Also avoid jarring, short sentences.
Look out for repetition unless it is intentional. Reading the same word can become boring, slow the pace and even turn the reader off.
Sometimes you need to consider the word count. Ask yourself: Do I really need that word/sentence/ paragraph?
Are your characters three dimensional?
Take out any clich├ęs.
Can you visualise your location?
Does the piece suit the viewpoint?
Have you picked the right tense?

1 comment:

Nik's Blog said...

That sounds like a fine process. My own advice (which works well for me) would be: after you've done all of the above, read it aloud; that way you're forced to read what's actually there (not what you *think* you've written) which shows up repetitions et al - and also does wonders for rhythm. Just thought I'd share.

Nik