Friday, August 18, 2017

Self-Editing: These Words Have Got to Go!




What do you do when you finish writing a book? You edit it! And what do you do when you finish editing? You edit some more.

In my case, I wrote a novel, edited it, signed with a literary agent, got a publishing deal with a large foreign language publisher, saw my book traditionally published, and now I am editing the manuscript once again. (Read this if you don’t understand why).


Self-editing. What is there left to edit?

What could I possibly be editing at this late stage of the process? I am polishing the manuscript, tightening the flow of the narrative, speeding up the pacing, and making other tweaks to the content here and there.

Author Mark Twain stated that in order to improve one’s writing, you must kill all adjectives. Well, most of them anyway. Another thing that should be removed, I’ve learned, is adverbs. Well, perhaps not every single adverb. What’s next? Remove all nouns? All verbs?

For sure, there is a lot of fluff in my novel that can be removed with no harm done to the story. In fact, removing certain words and phrases, if done in moderation, greatly improves the quality of the writing.


Goodbye then!

Here are some of the useless modifiers I either removed or replaced. In moderation.

** There were way too many times that I used ‘there were’. There were? There were!

** Suddenly, I realized that everything happened ‘suddenly’.

** Just about every time I used ‘just,’ just did not do justice to the novel.

** Then this happened. Goodbye ‘then’!

** More words that really need to go: really, actually, began, rather, and so. So long!

I hope that by killing most of the useless modifiers in my writing, the rest of my manuscript will be fluff-free and much more enjoyable to read! I guess you will have to be the judge of that when you read the book.



Resources about killing words:

Editing Tip: 10 Words to Search for in Your Manuscript

29 Words to Remove from Your Novel

43 Words You Should Cut from Your Writing Immediately


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