For you writers out there, editing can be the worst part of the process. When is your work really done? Good enough to begin showing to friends, agents or publishers? These are tough questions, with few easy answers. I’ll try two.
One, I read somewhere that you should take your best sentence or paragraph and use that as your standard. You know, that part that just pops. Every word is perfect. The flow. The content. Nothing is out of place. Compare everything else to those words and reshape until the standard is matched. This can be tough to do. During the writing, a lot gets thrown onto the paper. Now you have to really craft it like you are carving or sculpting. It is the editing process where people usually realize that writing is a skill. Good writing that is. The editing may take awhile, but you will know when each part is just right.
Two, delete. Yes, sometimes there is no saving a sentence or even a whole paragraph. Maybe a whole page. Remember that section you wrote that sounded so cool? You were trying to say something profound. There was some bit of great knowledge you had and needed to impart it on the reader. Chances are, it never sounded good. It never fit. Now, no reshaping is working. Erase it. Trust me, when you do it, you’ll feel better. Your story will be stronger and you’ll wonder why you wrote those horrible words to begin with.