Monday, July 10, 2017

Common Editorial Tips

Writers often ask what are the most common tips an editor can provide to improve writing? I've asked this question myself, and there are several resources to consider; Stephen King's On Writing and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott are two of my favorites. I have also been fortunate enough to work with a successful literary agent as an intern over the past 1.5 years, who has imparted much wisdom to me on this topic.

Below are three important tips you may find helpful as you revise your magnum opus:

Showing Versus Telling: I have been guilty of "telling" my audience so much, especially when I first started writing. And sometimes "telling" is important as it can be a way to provide our readers with valuable information. However, "showing" our readers a situation evokes feeling and imagination, which is going to enrich your story and engage your reader so much more than "telling" ever could. Use strong descriptors to paint the scene and what the character sees and feels.

Reduce Your Use of Adverbs: Cross out the word "very" every time you use it. Adverbs are helpful, but they also give off a sense of laziness. Is your character "very angry" or "spitting nails she's so mad"?

Pacing: How fast or slow your plot moves can be the death of a great story. Pacing is so important, but what is the best way to keep the pace when writing? The best advice I've ever received on pacing is this: make sure at least three things are happening in every chapter to drive your story forward. Use the characters, the setting, and plot points to engage the reader and keep his/her interest.

For more tips, follow this blog or reach out to me personally on Facebook or via email at If you are having trouble getting representation for your project, a developmental edit may be what you need. Contact me - I'd love to help!

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