Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Final Key to Writing

The Key to Writing –Part 3
By Lindsey with Katie
I am picking up where Katie left off in “The 3 Keys to Writing Series”. The first two keys according to her were writing and revision. The final key is editing. In her previous article she stressed that rewriting and revision were different from editing. She described rewriting and revision focusing on flow and editing more being focused on the grammar and correctness of your writing. For me however, they are one in the same. I do both at once so it’s hard for me to differentiate one from the other. So, here is how I would suggest how to edit your work.

The thesis is the most important part of any paper. It’s where you declare the purpose and reason of your paper. I would also argue that a thesis plays an important part in creative writing. It doesn’t have to look like a thesis statement that you would find in a persuasive essay but if your story doesn’t have a clear purpose or idea that you’re trying to convey then why write it? As you’re editing making sure your main idea and/or purpose is identifiable.

Beginning and endings are equally important as well. You could have the best story on planet with interesting characters and an amazing plot but if you have a sub-par introduction, no one will read further than the first page or so. Write an introduction that catches the reader. Avoid focusing on something that the reader could care less about. (EX: A character waking up and going through their morning routine, the weather, eating etc.) Show us something different. Once you have nailed the introduction don’t neglect the conclusion. The worst kind of endings are those that feel contrived or tacked on with unresolved tensions and loose ends hanging all over the place.

Make sure your writing has a consistent tone and voice. An author always needs to have their audience in mind; you don’t want to alienate them by confusing them. Also, never come off as condescending to your audience or assume superiority over them. They will leave you. The voices of your narrator and other characters need to fit their personalities.

Grammar is important. English is a very complicated language, and for me it is hard to remember all the correct rules. Luckily, we are better off than writers of the past, we have spell-check,, thesaurus’s etc. This also means that we are held to a higher standard of writing. Today, we have no excuse for a misspelled word and these tools also can help you with correcting your grammar. Another great way to correct grammar is through peer editing and writing groups. Be open to new ideas. Another perspective can help you catch the mistakes that you didn’t find.

Editing is the longest and most frustrating process of writing. As humans we are always striving for perfection. Though we will most always find fault somewhere in our writing, the editing process will bring our writing closer to that unattainable perfection.

- Lindsey

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