Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Writing 101: Edit Every Sentence

There’s a scene in an old movie I love, where a very pessimistic Billy Crystal is explaining his reading habits to Meg Ryan. He always reads the end of a book first. Readers might do anything, and you don’t know what it is. I used to open books to a page near the middle and see if I liked what I saw, back when books were made with paper (so long ago). That’s why as an author, you’ve got to edit every sentence. Because no matter which one your reader looks at, you need it to be good...otherwise, maybe it’s the only one they’ll look at. 


Line By Line

If editing every sentence sounds like a truly tedious chore, that’s because it is. But if you’re going to do a thorough job of editing your book, you’re going to have to read every single word more than once anyway.


So while you’re editing, read each sentence and study it for itself alone. You want your sentences to stand alone, and you want each one to sound great. How tedious is the task sounding now?

You want every single sentence to be strong in its own right, because each sentence has to stand strong in order to stand out. It does take more time to check every single sentence, to perfect each word, but the end result is a very well-edited book. That makes the hard work well worth it.

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