Thursday, October 24, 2019

16 Concrete Tips for Self-Editing

I'm over on The Kill Zone blog today, where I was a regular contributor (every other Monday) for two years, from 2013 to 2015. That award-winning blog specializes in advice for mystery and thriller writers, and I specialize in editing fast-paced suspense fiction, so it was a great fit.

Here's the beginning of my guest blog post over there today, with a link below to the rest:


16 Concrete Tips for Effectively Editing Your Own Fiction


by Jodie Renner, TKZ alumna, fiction editor and author of writing guides    
Are you relatively new at writing fiction? Perhaps you’ve shown your first (or latest) draft to beta readers and been told your premise, plot, and characterization are now pretty solid, but that your pacing is a bit slow and your writing style could use some amping up and polishing. Perhaps it’s overly wordy or just a bit pedestrian.
If so, take a break, then grab a coffee or some chocolate and start going through the whole story again, page by page, to search for any wordy, clunky, hackneyed, or lackluster phrasing and replace it with succinct, fresh, vibrant wording that will entice and delight your readers. The step-by-step list below will help you do a line-by-line self-edit to take your story up a notch or two.
If you want your popular fiction to captivate readers, sell well, and garner great reviews, ferret out and fix these 16 style weaknesses:
1. Meandering, wordy, or repetitive writing. Be on the constant lookout for anywhere you can cut down on wordiness. Don’t bore your readers by having characters going on and on. Avoid lengthy, neutral descriptions—today’s readers don’t have patience with them. And don’t say the same thing several times just to make sure readers got it. Look for areas you’re repeating yourself. Also, watch for “little word pileup.” Can you be more succinct and direct? For example, instead of “It would be a good thing for us to…,” just say “We should….” Here’s an example from my editing:
Before: The man was small and pudgy and he had a full dark beard that he nervously stroked with his hand.
After: The small, pudgy man nervously stroked his full dark beard.
2. Wishy-washy qualifiers that weaken your message. Do a search for words like quite, sort of, almost, kind of, a bit, pretty, somewhat, rather, usually, basically, generally, probably, mostly, etc., and delete almost all of them. Forget “He was quite brave,” or “She was pretty intelligent” or “It was almost scary.” These qualifiers dilute your message, reduce the impact, and make the imagery weaker. Even really and very are best avoided—it’s like you’re saying the word after it needs reinforcing. “She was beautiful” packs more punch than “She was very beautiful.”
3. ….
for the rest of this post, go to: Concrete Tips for Effectively Editing Your Own Fiction.
See you over there! I'd be delighted if you left a comment there as well. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. I really like and appreciate your post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

    ReplyDelete