Friday Writing Exercise 0 Comments

Friday Writing Exercise

You can write but you can’t edit

Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit…

– Regina Spektor, ‘Edit’

 

Now, now. Don’t let Regina get you down. Or better yet, prove her wrong!

Editing can be one of the most difficult parts of the writing process. Once you’ve churned out all those beautiful, considered words onto the page it’s hard to take off your rose-coloured glasses and read it over with honesty and humility, looking for the pieces that don’t fit.

 

Our first go-to editing tool sounds ridiculously simple, but trust us, it’s a good ‘un…

Read it over!

 

Read once to checking grammar, speelling errors and paragraphs or

line breaks.

Read twice to check the sentence syntax and weed out any tautologies (e.g. ‘enormous vast emptiness’) or breaks in your work’s logic.

Read aloud to check the rhythm, flow and voice.

 

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules and in the end this is your original work and you can do what you like but it’s also worth sticking to a few guidelines for yourself to make reading your work as enjoyable as writing it.

 

For example, creating a system of logic with unexpected consequences is tricky and very impressive, as long as the reader is allowed into this new system of logic and you stick with it! Some of our favourite writers work with nonsense, the illogical and bizarre causality but they always manage to let the reader in, and perhaps even comment on the absurdity of our own ‘logical’ world.

 

Generally the rule is ‘shorter is sharper’, and this is especially true of poetry, as ‘the power of poetry lies in its brevity. Distil the language. Make each word count.’ Not everyone can be Raymond Carver though, and this piece from the Kill Your Darlings blog on the death of the long sentence explains why. Remember though that there is still a difference between lengthy and considered and just plain convoluted!

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