I’m in the midst of editing manuscripts and providing feedback for participants in my Bring Your Book to Life Program and it’s thrilling to witness the variety, the wisdom and the diversity of voices!
I thought I’d share a editing tips that are coming up consistently and that might help you with your writing.
1. Write to a Specific Person: imagine a specific person in mind when you write. You might even picture this person in your mind. They can be real or imagined. Your writing will automatically become more engaging and conversational when you do this. When you write to a mass of people, often the writing possesses less vitality and creates a distance between you and your reader. My pet peeve: Don’t write “many of you” when addressing your readers. Readers imagine your voice in their head and connect in a one to one relationship. Reading “many of you” takes them right out of that intimate connection.
2. Use Active Verbs; Avoid Passive Ones: Don’t worry about this in a first draft, but in your initial edit, you’ll find that if you take out 90% of the passive voice (verbs like is, was, has, had, are, etc.) the active verbs (listen, jump, shift, rest) provide more energy to your writing.
3. Show, Show, Show: I know you’ve heard this one before, but if you want your writing to come to life for your readers, employ the different senses, use stories and anecdotes, even statistics, used well, can paint a picture and show rather than tell.
Another editing tip? Perform one or more rounds of editing by reading aloud; you’ll catch different issues from reading in your head. I’m keeping it short today–go forth and write–or edit!