How To Make Your Writing Tighter, Clearer and Better

By on May 2, 2017
How To Make Your Writing Tighter, Clearer and Better-Writer's

When it comes to editing your manuscript, it is important to pay attention to how your writing flows. Your reader should be able to read your book without effort.

If your writing is confusing, wordy or awkward they won’t be able to do this. There is nothing worse than a reader being aware that they are reading - they want to immerse themselves, to get lost in your story, and the way that you can ensure this happens is by tightening up your prose, cleaning up your manuscript and writing with clarity throughout.

So how can you do this in practice? Here are some helpful tips:

Simplify your sentences.

Your writing doesn’t need to be complicated and convoluted, writing simply is often best. You want to be descriptive and build a picture but you also should never say something in ten words that you could say in five. If you stuff your book full of complicated language and long sentences it will become more difficult to read. An easy way to achieve this is deciding whether a word is actually necessary to a sentence - if it isn’t, just delete it.

Use the active voice

Using the active voice is so important, it makes your writing come alive, it brings immediacy and therefore helps to draw the reader in. Look out for instances where you slip into the passive voice and amend these sentences so they are active.

Read your story aloud

Reading your story out loud is so helpful. It picks up mistakes but also helps you to see whether it flows well, whether the pace is right, and whether there are any parts that need a total makeover. You can even record your book and then play it back to yourself to really make sure you weed out any errors and note any bits that could be improved.

Check your grammar

Good grammar is so important and a grammatically flawless manuscript will help your book read well. If you aren’t too hot on grammar an online checker such as Grammarly could help.

Get specific

Don’t be afraid to be direct in your writing. If you make your writing too much like hard work you could easily put readers off. Mystery and intrigue are great devices, but if a reader can’t understand your character's actions or motivations they’ll find it difficult to relate or find your story believable.

Don’t censor yourself during the first draft.

While paying attention to how clear and tight your writing is important, it’s best to wait until your first draft is finished before you become too strict with yourself. Otherwise, you could find that your writing goes nowhere.

First drafts should all be about getting your story out - you can go back and make it clearer and smarter once you’ve got it down.

What tips do you have to edit your writing? Share them with us below!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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