Sunday, September 11, 2011

Editing Tips

Once you've completed your manuscript (I should probably refer to it as a draft), editing is the most important thing you can do. I follow David Farland - if you're not signed up to receive his daily kicks, I highly recommend it (, and a lot of my editing knowledge has come from his advice. This post will focus on editing out specific words:

  1. Edit for passive voice. Look for every "was" in your MS and ask if you can reword it. I must admit, I've never been able to remove all my was words, but in a focused edit, I can usually get rid of 60 - 70% of them. For example, think about "He was sitting" versus "He sat" - there's only a slight difference here, but you get into the action in fewer syllables, and the verb in the second passage is "sat" the verb in the first passage is "was". The second passage puts the reader in the action and this is an easy edit that will strengthen your writing.
  2. Edit out suddenly. If something is suddenly happening, show it. Put the reader in the action. For example "he suddenly felt fear" vs. "Looking up, his heart flew up to his throat, his mouth dry..." The second passage puts the reader in the scene. They can feel the fear themselves.
  3. Avoid finally. Using the word finally indicates that you might be using a lot of words to describe how the character did something, which could be unnecessary.
  4. Using the word "then" might indicate that you're telling the events in a chronological sequence that could be on the nose. Edit for "this happened then that."
  5.  Last thing I'll mention in this post is to avoid word/sound replications. I do this all the time when I'm writing a draft, and it's easy to edit out - just keep a good thesaurus on hand!
  6. Last week Blogger, Colby Marshall, suggested editing out her crutch words, get and just...definitely a good idea. You can follow Colby at
I hope this tip helps...Oh, and I'm trying to sell my new MS, Chihuahua Momma. I've got a couple pictures of my Chi's at the bottom of my blog, but I thought I'd start adding them to my posts...they're a big part of my life!

Poco, Austin, Tut and Maya


  1. Hi, Amy! Thanks for following me. I couldn't link from your photo but googled you - there are 4 Amy Jarecki's but matched up photos on blogs. But I still can't get to you unless I google your address. If you leave a comment, I can get to you that way. Or, go to your block of Followers. Beneath the block you'll see 'Sign In.' Click to sign in, then follow the block that opens to sign in. This will put your address on your profile page, avatar. The same thing happened to me - someone gave me the suggestion I passed on to you.

    Anyway, it's nice to meet you. *waves*

  2. Hope you're feeling better today, Amy. I gave you a shout-out on my post today (a welcome to new followers.)