Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Editing Tips

'Find' and 'Replace' can help your writing if used correctly. 'Find' makes a great tool for finding (hence the word 'find') words or even groups of letters for improving your writing.

You've written your masterpiece and you're ready to hit 'send'. Hang on a bit. Search for words such as was, is, have, and had. Most times these words weaken you prose. 'John was depressed.' You've told the writer this, not shown him. 'John looked out the window at the gray sky and sighed. "Another day. So what?"' Now you've shown it. Much better.

Search for 'ly.' Yes, just those two letters. This gets a bit complicated with so many words containing them, but you'll find adjectives that weaken your writing. 'John looked unhappily out the window.' Once again, the sentence tells too much and often states the obvious, making your tome 'dumbed down' for your reader, and gives them reasons to put down the book.

Combining 'Find' and 'Replace' can help your manuscript too. Many writers give their characters similar names, such as Kate and Kathy, or Herb and Hank. Find 'Herb' and replace it with Anthony. Oops, better be careful because you just changed the sentence on page 243 from, 'Greta worked in the herb garden' to 'Greta worked in the Anthony garden.' You need to replace carefully.

'Find' and 'Replace' provide handy tools to manage your editing if used properly. Now we just need to get John out of his funk.

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