active voice

Guest Post: Notes from an Editor

Want to become a better writer? Ever wonder what editors look for? Want to know how to proofread your own work? Here are some items to check before you send it to your editor:

anonymous female using laptop and taking notes on street
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5 Things I LOVE to See in Writing

  1. Story Flow. Keep it going! This may sound simple, but sometimes you can be writing and not realize that you’ve gotten sidetracked. When you read through your finished product, make sure everything flows smoothly and is connected to the plot. If something causes your mind to wander from the story line, change it or take it out. If your story wanders, so will the minds of your readers. Keep it tight.
  2. Varied Sentence Length. You’re a writer! Make use of that. Variety adds interest. If you have too many short sentences strung together, your story will seem choppy. Or, if you have too many long sentences, it can seem long-winded. Be kind to your reader and vary the length to keep them engaged.
  3. Imagery. Similes and metaphors are powerful tools that can add depth and complexity to you work. But there are a few cautions: they shouldn’t be overused, they need make to make sense, and they can’t derail the story.
  4. Commas, Commas, Commas! I think these are the forgotten piece of grammar. Independent clauses need commas, but dependent clauses DO NOT.

    The easiest way to decide if you need a comma after your “and” is to ask yourself, “Can this phrase before the ‘and’ be a sentence all by itself (independent clause)?” If the answer is “yes,” give it a comma.

    Also, when reading your writing out loud and there is a pause needed, put a comma.
  5. Active Voice. Your story is much more alive and flows when written in the active voice. It makes your writing stronger, more direct, and more interesting to readers.
black and red typewriter
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5 Things I HATE to See in Writing

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