The most important part of writing is editing. I can’t say it enough. You must make your writing shine, before you send it to an editor. Here are 10 tips to streamline the readability of your writing and make it more interesting. I have provided links to articles to help you understand and master these elements of your writing.
- Avoid passive voice.
- Be careful to rarely or never use adverbs.
- Watch for filter words if you don’t have to use them then don’t.
- Less can be more. Use fewer words where you can. Be concise.
- Watch out for long blocks of description. They can rip your reader out of the action. Try to weave description into your action. Example: “She had blue eyes and a long blonde braid ran down her back, nearly all the way to her shapely rear end”. Try this instead. “Her eyes lit with an icy fire. As she spun her golden braid slashed through the air. I got an eye full of her shapely rear as she stormed away”. Not only do we get a sense of what she looks like, without leaving the action, we get a sense of the narrator as well. We also get to see inside her head where normally 1st Person point of view usually can’t take us.
- Limit your dialogue tags. If you can tell who’s talking because of the action just don’t use them. Here is one place the dreaded adverb can sneak into your writing.
- Don’t stack your adjectives. Never use more than two in a row. It bogs down the reading. Try to use nouns that imply some description and don’t use an adjective with every noun. Not all describing words are bad. Look over your work and see which describers are necessary. Use them economically.
- Stay in one point of view, sometimes referred to as POV. Never switch.
- Avoid cliché’s. Use too many and your writing will sound boring and worn out.
- Eliminate useless words from your writing such as, really, very, that, and then. Don’t go crazy of course sometimes you need these words. Hopefully the below link will help you to know when to eliminate these words.
Bonus Link: Here’s a list of links that will help you with your writing. Visit them and read, read, read.
Go back to your old writing. Choose one of the tips above and apply it to your writing. Keep editing the same document until you have applied as many tips as you can. Set the original unchanged copy and your revision aside. After a few weeks read both. How has your writing improved?