Edit Without Mercy

Miss Benison gives some great advice for the editing stage of writing their book. Editing can be a long drawn out process, but this is where you learn to shape and reshape words, sentences, plots and characters. As Benison writes, this is where you need to:

Be ruthless and objective. Don’t think of the book as your own. Think that it belongs to a complete strangers. Don’t be afraid of the words “Cut” and “Delete”, in editing, they could be your best friends.

That may shock some writers, but I have found that some things just don’t work, if they ever did. If they can’t be fixed or moved, deleting words, sentences or whole paragraphs will often make a writer think, “Wow, that’s so much better.” Force yourself to evaluate your writing as someone else would. Don’t let yourself rationalize away parts of your story that you know aren’t right.

She also writes about focusing on different aspects during each edit. Focus on grammar one time, details (too much or too little) on another. That doesn’t mean if you run across something else that you can’t edit it as well.

At some point you will need beta readers, because no matter how many times your review your manuscript, you’ll miss something. Then you’ll decide on whether or not you want an editor (other than you) to edit your work.

Editing isn’t easy and it’s time-consuming. One of the best pieces of advice I read somewhere went something like, “Find part of your story that just pops: You know, every word is perfect and clicks with each other. It’s the example of what you want your voice to be. This is the standard the rest of the story should rise to meet.”

That’s a high standard, and no author or book is perfect to themselves or all readers. If you set your standard as high as possible, however, you’ll end up with one amazing story.

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Edit Without Mercy

  1. Pingback: Edit Without Mercy | Toni Kennedy : A Writing Life

  2. jaimiengle

    Looking forward to reading your edited manuscript! Thanks for reaching out…


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