How to edit texts: tips from a writer

Posted by: Mrs. Kayla Fritsch DDS at 01/08/2021 4,197 views

Write a draft, read aloud, and use helpful services

Whether you're writing a social media post, a research paper, a novel, or doing english homework thoughtful editing is the key to any quality text. Knowing how to edit your text is just as important as the ability to write it. How to master this skill is explained in his article by writer Harry Guinness, and The Workshop retells his observations by editing this article several times.

Write a draft first

Even if you write well, the first draft should not be final. Just as a succinct response to someone's scathing comment or the right argument in an argument comes later than necessary, so the perfect wording may not come to mind right away. The text gives you a chance this time to say exactly what you meant.

Avoid typical stylistic errors

Clericalisms

Clericalisms are words that are characteristic of the official business style, but they creep into ordinary speech. Expressions like "to improve quality" or "make a check" appear when people want to appear smarter. Because of the pseudo-intellectual language, the construction becomes needlessly complicated, and the meaning goes into the background.

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Cliché 

A cliché is a clichéd and even stereotypical expression that has been used so often that it has bored everyone. "In the best tradition," "rich experience," "unique" and "exclusive" - such words make the text weak and boring. If you're not sure if it's a cliché, you'd better just replace the phrase. Clichés also become memes very quickly.

Passionate pledge

"This article was written by Mike" and, "Mike wrote the article," feel the difference? Text written in the passive form becomes longer, and it is harder for the reader to understand who or what is the protagonist. Sentences are written in the active voice sound more convincing and clearer.

Extended sentences

When you're not quite sure what you want to say, it's easy to avoid direct language by writing three different appendices. But it's better to be direct once than to go around and around. Don't stray from the subject and reduce the paragraph to one succinct and complete sentence.

Don't edit the draft right after you write it

Working on a text for a long time makes you lose your keenness of perception and stop noticing mistakes. Give yourself time, rest and switch gears, and then start editing again. The longer you can leave the draft untouched, the better. At the very least, wait at least 10 minutes - that will work, too.

Read the text out loud

When you read a text aloud, you hear all the weaknesses: repetitions, typos, or stumbling tempo. If you stumble at any point, rewrite it, or the reader will be in your place. Some authors even print out their drafts and correct them with a red pen to bring the text to perfection.

Don't be afraid to cut and trim your text

Shortening your text is often more difficult than rewriting it. However, a simple rule of thumb works here: cut out everything you can remove without losing meaning. That way you'll make your text clear and concise, though you'll spend a little more time. As Blaise Pascal (not Mark Twain) wrote, "This letter is longer than usual because I didn't have time to make it shorter."

Pay attention to the beginning of the text

The beginning is the most important part. If you don't get the reader interested right away, you won't get another chance. Whether you're writing a novel or a work letter, you need to devote a little more time to the first sentences or paragraphs. Many errors that no one will notice in the middle can let you down at the beginning.

Create a clear structure

The success of a text often depends on its structure. It doesn't matter how precisely phrased individual sentences are if they're a mess. Break the text into paragraphs and, if necessary, insert subheadings, as we did in this article. If the structure of your paper changes dramatically between drafts, that's fine. You're editing the whole text, not just fixing minor flaws.

Use helpful resources

There are a lot of services that can help you. For example, you can use Grammarly which can help check spelling, punctuation, etc. But if you want to check it professionally, you can use the essay revision service. It will help you to find garbage, stamps, clerical errors, and signs of bad syntax give expert advice on complicated issues.

Also, don't forget about books that can help you improve your writing skills. We wrote more about them here.

Here are a few of them:

  • The Word Alive and the Dead by Nora Gal

This book is built on examples: Nora Gal shows stylistic errors and explains how to correct them. In addition, "The Word Alive and Dead" is a godsend for the translator; here you can find tips that are still useful today.

The King of Horrors, whose name is known throughout the world, has given fans of his work and those simply interested in writing an autobiographical book. In it, he describes the process of becoming a writer and the difficulties he encountered on his way to fame and recognition. 

Do not be discouraged: Stephen King writes about himself only in the first part, while the second, under the resounding title "What is writing, entirely devoted to aspiring authors.  

This book: 

- Contains King's practical advice for aspiring authors. 

- Teaches the understanding that writing quality texts is hard and exhausting work. 

- Helps you develop individual writing skills. 

- Explains the difference between just writing and good writing while giving specific passages for reflection with explanations from the writer.

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