Showing posts with label Writing help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing help. Show all posts

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Three Favorite Editing Tips

My Three Favorite Editing Tips

I find it hard not to edit while I write. But we all know we're not supposed to do that. The best writers will tell you to write, let it sit for a day or so and then edit. But what's the best way to edit? Well, everyone has their preferences. I have three techniques I like to use. They aren't the only ones, just my favorites. Maybe you'll want to try them too.
  1. First I print the pages I plan to edit, making sure the pages numbers are included. Next I jumble the pages up. Because I wrote the words, I know how they should flow. That makes it easy to miss things like awkward phrasing. By reading the pages out of order, it really allows me to concentrate on just what is on that page. I'm not so much worried about how it fits with the other pages at this point. I'm concentrating more on finding repetitive words or phrases and awkward and run-on sentences.
  2. Read your writing out loud. Sometimes what sounds good in your head, doesn't sound so great when it's actually spoken. You'll be surprised what you can find and tighten up after reading your page aloud. 
  3. For each printed page, look for overused words. I have a pack of highlighters just for this. I'm the queen of the word "that". To make sure I'm not using it too frequently, or at all, I go through the page and highlight each instance. Then I decide if each will be cut, replaced or left as is. I write devotions so I use "God" frequently. I highlight that word in a different color. That shows me where I need to replace it with another name like "Lord" or "Heavenly Father". It's helpful that I have compiled a list of words I tend to abuse. But I'm also on the lookout for new offenders.
These three tips have made editing a more thorough process. What editing techniques do you use? Which are your favorites? 

Marietta Taylor is an author and speaker. She is the author of Surviving Unemployment:Devotions to Go. Marietta is a monthly blogger at the Go ask Mom Blog at Her tagline is Mom of Teens. She was also a contributing author to Penned From The Heart Vol XV. Marietta has a bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Visit Marietta at or or email her at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

What guilty pleasure powers you through your writing?

Mark Twain is known for his cigar, but also loved biscuits and real butter, buckwheat cakes and thick Porterhouse steaks. Hemingway and Poe are associated with heavy drinking and drugs.

I’m sure most of us in this group don’t turn to those mind-altering substances, but how many of you NEED a hit of chocolate to get you through that next paragraph? I like dark chocolate and recently discovered Ghirardelli’s “Sea-Salt Soiree.” Oh my! I’m fast becoming addicted and probably need to contact Chocoholics Anonymous.

Or maybe you like crunching while you’re creating: potato chips, pretzels, popcorn. In an attempt to eat healthier, I’ve also become addicted to dry-roasted almonds (with grapes. Mm-mm good!) And periodically I’ll go through a baby carrot phase.

I know it’s probably a bad idea to get in the habit of eating at my computer, but sometimes I eat lunch while working or trolling through e-mails. My keyboard doesn’t like that so much. Occasionally I find a breadcrumb or a sunflower seed stuck between two keys.

And of course there’s caffeine. Even though I’ve cut back on that guilty pleasure (I was once known at a local restaurant as “the Caffeine Queen”), I’m not much good until I’ve had at least one cup of fully-leaded Joe and a couple cups of decaf.

What is your comfort food or drink to help you with your writing process?


A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently won the national WILLA Literary Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.

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