Want to catch more in your writing? Tips for that!
Editing tips can actually help you recognize not-so-great stuff in your writing so you can make it better. Dustin Wax says that learning to edit can help you write better.
The best writers know differently, of course — their memoirs and biographies and writing manuals are filled with stories of books that needed to be cut in half to be readable, sentences that took weeks or months to get just right, and lifetimes spent tinkering with a single work that never strikes them as “just right”. To paraphrase a common saying among writers, there is no good writing, only good re-writing.
But if writing isn’t taught well enough or often enough these days, editing is hardly taught at all. This is too bad, since editing is where the real work of writing is at. More than just proofreading, good editing improves the clarity and forcefulness of a piece.
One of those tips, which I find particularly useful for writing better dialogue, is reading out loud. Wax also recommends reading in reverse. And CUT, don’t add. Another of my faves, get rid of adverbs.
Happy writing, happy reading.