Here it is, August, and together we have gone a long way down the editing process. If you have come this far with me, you have worked through the major aspects of content editing. You have looked at the macro-editing stage. You have looked at the story as a complete project. We have looked at the story scene by scene. Today, we turn a corner into the micro-proofreading stage. In this stage, we break things down into individual paragraphs and sentences and word choices. In this stage you will begin to do the following:
- Cut down on long sentences.
- Check your commas with that and which When used as a descriptor, the word “which” takes a comma. But the word “that” doesn’t. For example: “We went to the house that collapsed yesterday” or “We went to the house, which collapsed yesterday.” Confused about when to use “that” vs. “which?
- Avoid using “ing” words like I was starting to. . . .
- Don’t be too formal, use contractions
- Eliminate there is and there are at the beginning of sentence.
- Refer to people with who not that
- Use stronger verbs “Make” is sometimes used in the same way as “start to,” in place of what could be a stronger verb.
- Eliminate very and really and other ly adverbs. Replace with stronger verbs.
- Replace “thing” with a better word
- Avoid using “that”
- Don’t use “start to”
- Cut “in order to”
- Reduce prepositions
- Remove redundancies
- Replace ornate words with simple ones
- Remove extra punctuation
Now, before you continue, pat yourself on your back. You’re just a few weeks away from having a completed manuscript!
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