First step to editing

For me, the first step in the editing process is to use the “find” key and get rid of all those superfluous words. They flow from your fingers without thought but accept it, they add nothing to your work. Check out my list and add your own to it:

Search for all those ending with “to” – tried to, start to, began to, needed to, decided to, beginning to, continued to, wanted to, etc. Would, could, did, must, very, really, totally, just, that – they can probably all go too. We all know about adverbs, those ly words adding tension or emotion, scrub most of them in favour of stronger nouns/verbs. Check out saw, watched, touched, heard, sensed, felt, looked, knew – these words can indicate telling, find a way to show instead. Was and were are often passive voice. It was and there are not good sentence starters.

After you’ve found every one of these words and decided whether they portray the impression you’re looking for, I think you’ll have deleted most of them. I usually have. Don’t be despondent if your work was full of them, getting your story out was so much more important than which words you used. But now you’re onto the next phase. You’re editing, this is the time to look at every word and make it count. Hope this helps a little, good luck.

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