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Start with the editing migraines first...take longer to cure

You’re finally finished that first draft. Wiping the sweat off your forehead you now realize the hard part begins – editing. The sweat forms again. Forget editing the little stuff now. Let’s concentrate on the big guns targeted to slush your story. These tips can be used for shorter pieces, as well.

Editing not only is the refining part but it’s where the writer needs to make a few decisions, such as:

  • does this scene work? Should I delete it?
  • Are my characters moving the story forward?
  • How can I strengthen their dialogue?


These are just a sample of the questions a writer must ask when editing a story.

You need to go back and re-evaluate if your main theme was achieved before you start editing for typos and whatnots. This is the part of the game where whole sections may be deleted/added to further improve your plot.

What I like to do with my own work is ask myself the following questions to see if I’ve answered positively in each point:

  1. Did I relate my message/goal to the reader, my target audience?
  2. Did I conclude all foreshadows?
  3. Did I create my characters with enough personal characteristics in order for the reader to identify with each of them?
  4. Was my main character’s objectives and goals clearly defined and met?


I then evaluate my answers and target the one I found could have used more work. For example, in question 3, I struggled with one book’s POV. I felt the third person POV in the story would have been a better choice in the end than the first person POV I used originally. As much work as this was for me changing, the end result gave me a better response when I asked question 3 again.

Why are these questions important? They will help to pinpoint areas you, the writer,believe lack clarity. If you are able to spot these problem areas, imagine your reader. Also, this exercise will help you to begin with the most time consuming areas in editing first before you deal with the smaller stuff, like typos.

For more specific editing tips, go to Pen Perfect Associates.

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