Editing Tips

Benefits Of Editing For Efficiency:

  • it is helpful in meeting word number maximums and space requirements
  • it is a critical factor in humor writing
  • it eliminates redundant words and sentences
  • it eliminates unnecessary words
  • the piece reads more fluidly
  • it inspires the writer to be even more creative
  • you learn to become more objective about the work being edited
  • it can make the difference between effective and ineffective ad copywriting
  • you increase your vocabulary by experimenting with different wording
  • it helps a writer to place his/her ego into perspective
  • it tailors a piece to the targeted market or readership

Methods Of Cutting

ELIMINATE unnecessary uses of “that”, “the”, “which”, “a” and other small words. For example, instead of:

the appearance of the athlete,

write:

the athlete’s appearance.

ELIMINATE redundant words or sentences:

I particularly admire the females in bodybuilding, as they have had to work even harder than their masculine male counterparts to be treated as true competitive athletes

becomes:

I particularly admire the females in bodybuilding, as they have had to work even harder than males to be treated as competitive athletes.

COMBINE two sentences into one:

After eleven years of yo-yo dieting, my body was showing the strains of this self-abuse. I started weight training at forty years old to try to tone up and strengthen my body. (32 words)

I started weight training at forty years old to tone up and strengthen my body, which was showing the strain of eleven years of yo-yo dieting. (26 words)

TAKE OUT sentences or phrases that are extraneous to the flow of the piece. For example, instead of:

Although this particular show does not include audience participation, I was surprised by the negative comments made by others backstage concerning the appearance of the athletes, (26 words)

write:

I was surprised by the negative comments made by others backstage concerning the appearance of the athletes. (17 words)

PARAPHRASE long quotes:

Mr. Crenshaw says, “We have a need to educate our people for the real jobs out there through better communication between industry and the school systems. We need better on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs” ( 31 words)

can be rewritten:

Mr. Crenshaw sees cooperation between the school systems and industry in setting up apprenticeship programs as one solution to the problem. (21 words)

USE ONE descriptive word instead of two or more:

The tear-streaked, emotional response of the audience

could read:

the sappy audience reaction.

Editing Exercise

Try writing a 150-word description of your home for the purposes of trying to interest someone in buying it. Start by simply writing without paying attention to length, then cut the words using the above tips.

These are just some of the methods an editor uses to adapt the length of a piece for a certain format. Editorial submissions must also be edited for content, spelling and grammar and suitability to readership. For professional editing services, contact Dorothea Helms at Write Stuff Writing Services.