You are a wordsmith so make sure everyone knows that. Regardless where you stand with your current writing project, the time will come when you need to polish your prose. And this goes beyond reworking your plot, heightening drama, or beefing up your protagonist’s motivations. It is when you get into the nitty-gritty of the editorial process: look at your work word by word, sentence by sentence, and examine the language used. Get rid of those clichés that managed to sneak in when you were not looking. Make your descriptions dance on the page.
Clarity should always be the first goal. Write a story that your reader can understand. Combine your personal voice and your writing style in order to impact the reader — setting, tone, atmosphere, culture, etc. Polish your prose, eliminate the ordinary and unnecessary, and make your work sparkle.
A handy check-list while editing:
- Dump any clichés.
- Eliminate filler words and phrases: such as, currently, which, that, in order to.
- People are humans, refer to them as ‘who’ not ‘that’.
- Eliminate repetitious words or phrases.
- Divide the too long, hard-to-read sentences into two or more shorter sentences.
- Hyphenate modifying words.
- Revisit adjectives, adverbs and verbs.
- Double check the definitions of any words you’re not 100% sure of.
- Replace general words, such as ‘thing’ or ‘stuff’, with specific ones. If it is a bird, book or plane – write that.
- Cut unnecessary chit-chat from dialogue; the story must move forward.
- And don’t forget common errors, such as spelling.
“Linda has published fifteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”