Edit, Edit, Edit

23 February 2022

Photo by Nick Demou on Pexels.com

Writing isn’t easy. Skilled writers make it look effortless, but years of work go into every word. Pieces written to a deadline, crafted in a matter of days or weeks, require writers to know how to edit their work. Aspiring writers are advised to be succinct; eliminate everything that doesn’t serve the story.

For many of us, cutting superfluous words is a major step toward better stories. It improves clarity, readability, and keeps our readers engaged. Wasted words, no matter how eloquent, slow readers down. That’s the quickest way to lose them. Successive drafts grow shorter. By the time I reach my third or fourth revision, I’ve memorized key lines and worked hard to reduce word count. Each revision means considering every word again.

Good and Bad Writing,

an article by Madelaine Kearns,

written for journalism students

to improve their reporting

It’s difficult to master this. Experienced writers practice for years. As I work to improve my pieces, I am practicing my skills and heaving closer to the goal. For a writer like me with few credits and a beginner’s naivete, editing software (in my case, ProWritingAid) proves invaluable. Picking out wordy sentences, as well as grammar, style, spelling, and more, the software helps me see where I can cut the fat. But ProWritingAid isn’t a writer. A good story needs more.

On February 21st, The National Review ran Good and Bad Writing, an article by Madelaine Kearns. Written for journalism students to improve their reporting, she offers concise examples and insights. When a piece is in its fourth or fifth draft, further edits are hard to find. Kearns gives writers a quick demonstration of how to look again.

Read Kearns’ full article at https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/good-and-bad-writing/

1 Comment

  1. deebee1979 says:

    Very, very true!


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