Editing Tips

1. Having trouble with a novel you’re working on? Or a picture book or short story? Try remembering what drew you to writing it in the first place. We often get so enchanted by our characters and new possibilities a story presents to us that we lose sight of why we wanted to write it. Reconnecting with the original impetus for it can breathe new life into a story that’s sagging (and its writer!)

2. Watch for places in your manuscript where “less is more” – where fewer words would create a stronger impact. Imagine having to pay $1 for every word you use, and chances are you’ll find lots of words your story doesn’t really need. Go in with a scalpel; a hatchet is not necessary. Like most writers you’ll be surprised how many words can be cut.

3. If you need detailed feedback on a current project, so that you can whip it into shape before submitting it to a publisher, there’s still time to apply for the seaside writing workshop/retreat that has had rave reviews and applications from former participants each year.

Following Tip #1 helped me write a new prologue and short-form outline for my current novel-in-progress this winter. (More on outlines in a future posting.)

I like racking up the word count when I’m writing a new draft as much as any writer, but I get just as much pleasure (maybe even more?) from following Tip #2 and watching the word count fall.

Deadline for Tip #3 is April 30.

Happy writing!

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