Old typewriter

Editing your creative work

You’ve got into the writing habit and completed work is starting to pile up - perhaps short stories, essays, poems, or chapters of a novel or memoir. Now what do you do?

Proofread

First of all, make sure that what you’ve written is written well. Have you checked it? Have you checked it again? And have you checked it a third time? You need to thoroughly proofread your work. This means that you read through it carefully, exhaustively, and correct all the typos, misspellings, grammatical bloopers, and so on. It’s not enough to rely on your spellchecker software; they miss a lot.

Make it better

Yet proofreading is only a part of the much wider work of editing your writing. Some writers love editing and polishing their work, while others hate it. But it’s a very important part of the writing process, and it’s a creative one, far more than just correcting errors. Editing is about taking what you’ve written and enhancing it. This might involve:

  • rewriting clumsy sentences or phrasing
  • removing redundant words, phrases, and even whole sentences or paragraphs
  • ensuring that the style, mood, tone, and register of your writing remain consistent
  • recasting some of your work so that you are showing ideas and character and mood to the readers rather than telling them
  • reworking the style of the writing to suit the market you have identified

 

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