Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tips and Tricks when Self Editing

Do you ever get bogged down when editing? Find it all a little overwhelming? Try a few of these tips and tricks and see if editing your piece becomes a little simpler. :) Grab a pen and paper, as well as a copy of your story (or even article!) and lets get started!

To make things easier, start with just the first page of your manuscript. Go through each sentence and tally up how many words are in each one. I'd recommend recording the numbers at the end of each sentence, but it doesn't really matter where you write them down so long as you know where it is and can reference it easily. Do you have multiple sentences one right after another that are almost the same length? Try shortening or breaking them into two different sentences! Make sure you like the way they flow, but still be sure that you get some variation in there. :)

Next look at the first three words of each sentence. Do you notice any patterns? You want to avoid starting too many sentences the same way or else you'll sound like a broken record! If you find you've started two sentences that are next to each other with "I" then maybe try rewriting one so that it starts with something else. The goal is to make sure you aren't repeating a lot of the same sentence openings or, if you can, not repeating any at all.

Lastly, take your piece for a spin and read it out loud. How does it sound? Does it flow well? Does the dialogue sound natural? If you have a tape recorder, record yourself reading and listen to the playback. I don't recommend videoing though, only because you really want to listen to the words, not think about how funny it is to be watching yourself and asking, "Does my hair really stick up like that?" ;) Ask a good friend you trust to read it back to you and see how it sounds coming from someone who hasn't read it a million times. ;D

Did any of these tips help you? Have any tips you'd like to add? Share them in the comments below! ^^ :)

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