Five Self-Editing Tips


Five self-editing tips for writers and authors.Completing the last piece of the writing process. Five self-editing tips to apply to your novel or manuscript.

Self-editing tips for authors. Five things to eliminate when self-editing your book or manuscript.Self-editing is an important piece of the writing process. It is the last piece of the writing process and is usually done before a final draft manuscript is sent to an editor or agent. Many writers do not enjoy self-editing and find it to be a tedious task. Some writers might compare self-editing to a household chore nobody ever wants to do that has to be done.

Self-editing doesn’t have to be difficult. Every writer will have his/her own techniques for self-editing. However you choose to self-edit, find a system that works the best for you. Take breaks whenever you need to. Print your manuscript and edit on paper if that works better than editing on a computer screen. Use the “find” feature of Microsoft Word and other word processing programs to help you look for particular words.

Many writers will read books or websites with self-editing tips and guides. Use these websites and books as references when self-editing or to make reminder lists of things you want to watch for in your writing.

Here are five self-editing tips to help you get started.

1. Eliminate repetitious words/phrases including “pet” or favorite words/phrases.

A “pet” or favorite word/phrase is a word/phrase that a writer uses frequently in writing. This word/phrase may be something a writer often uses when speaking. The writer may use the word/phrase in speaking often enough that the writer doesn’t realize the word/phrase has crossed over into his/her writing.

2. Eliminate unnecessary modifiers.

Unnecessary modifiers are words that lessen impact or emphasize for no reason.

Some common unnecessary modifiers are: really, very, sort of, simply, extremely, kind of, quite, mostly, usually, so, terribly, seriously, practically, and probably.

3. Eliminate clichés.

A cliché is a phrase so common, a reader speeds right past it. A cliché can lose the effect you were trying to achieve.

4. Eliminate extraneous (and often unnecessary) “thats” and “hads.”

5. Eliminate redundant words/phrases.

  • revert back = revert
  • return back = return
  • thought to herself = thought
  • merged together = merged

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Thank you Kelly, for a neat, brief and important reminder. I have a file which contains seveal of these groups of tips, and as I venture into the minefield of final drafts I pull the file and have a read of the tips.
I know it’s not sufficient to read, so I impose on myself the task of writing a short list of the issues I’m prone to drop into my writing. In one of my last works I took out so many ‘that’ and ‘had’, my Grammarly programme told me to put them back in.
While I’m here, an impressive graphic, which as you know is the difference between reading or passing a post. 🙂

[…] Five self-editing tips. Self-editing is an important part of the writing process. Here are five self-editing tips to help you get started.  […]

These are great tips that I really need right now. I’m working on editing my dissertation and find that I use really, very, and probably A LOT! Writing that down as something to look for will definitely help me in this process.