How to Edit Your Article or Story

Once you have created that wonderful story that has been buzzing around in your head and have finally put it down on paper, it can sometimes be hard to edit and cut it down to size.

The following tips I found in a great resource, “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. I am including a few key guidelines in this hub, and hope that they will be helpful as you polish your articles and stories for that final draft.

 

  1. Simplicity: “The secret to good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.” To create strong sentences remove every word that serves no function-clutter. Be clear and concise. Don’t hide what you are trying to say with excessive words and phrases. “Just because the sentence is short does not mean there is something wrong with it.”
  2. Style: After you have cleared the bones of your sentence and have clearly defined what you are trying to say, you can start to build it up again, adding your style. Style is something that comes with practice-don't force it. Be genuine and be yourself. It takes confidence, but don’t be afraid to reveal yourself, your feelings, and your passions.
  3. Lead and Ending: It is important to have a good beginning. Your beginning will draw your reader to continue or get them to move on. Let the reader know what’s in it for them, provide details and persuade them to continue. The ending is equally important-this is the last impression you leave with your reader. Your reader should not be left questioning if this is the end only to be fooled in reading more. “If you have presented the facts and made the point you wanted to make, look for the nearest exit.”
  4. Audience: Write for yourself. Now that you have mastered the craft of writing, say what you want to say. Don’t worry about appealing to the masses. Write to please yourself and “you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.”

I hope these tips are as helpful for you as they have been for me. Good luck on your writing quest!

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