Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Writing Articles (Part 17 of 21)

Polish your writing again.

I like to rewrite. Sound crazy? Not to me, because I enjoy finding ways to make my writing better. Below are some of the things I look for when I get into Serious Mode Editing.

I scrutinize for clichés, fuzzy thoughts, grammatical problems, poor word choice, and favorite words I've used too often. I ask myself: Have I written with a logical progression? Too many writers touch on a topic and four paragraphs later go back to the same point.

Another thing, I read the final sentence of a paragraph and the first of the next to see if I've made good transitions. If you read the two previous sentences, you'll see that by starting this paragraph with "another thing," I made a transition. You had no trouble following my thoughts.

I get rid of clutter, such as redundancies and laborious phrases. A good rule is that if I can think of a simpler word, I use it in place of a long word. We write to communicate, not to impress.

I check sentence length. When I get above 20 words in a sentence with no commas or semicolons, I've already strained the grasp of some.

I especially look for clichés. I'm weary of reading those overused phrases. At Christmas, for example, I must have read 50 ads that touted the perfect Christmas gift. Not only is nothing perfect, but the word has become meaningless.

I'll deal with clichés another time, but think of it this way: If it's an expression you've heard before, it's probably a cliché. Find a different-but-clear way to say it.

I will revise my manuscript. Then I'll do it again. 
There is no magic number of revisions, 
but it's always more than one.


  1. Rewriting is my favorite part of writing. It's easier for me to make something better than to capture fresh ideas on paper (or on the monitor). Thank you, Cec.

  2. I like Sue's comment. I frequently gain new insights when I do my rewriting. Great exercise for growth.



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