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How to Edit Your Story Right the First Time

As a freelance writer, you want to make sure that you deliver quality content to your client. If not, your career will go nowhere. Granted, some clients have editors who will do all of the nitty-gritty for you, so all you have to do is send a rough draft and let them work their magic. However, not all of them do, and some will make you edit it yourself. You may think that going through the spellcheck and correcting all spelling errors is the right way to go, but you are mistaken. To many clients, good writing should be free of a few knots that spellcheck cannot detect. A few problems are as follows:

tips to edit your own text
creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by art_es_anna

Passive voice. Avoiding this is important, especially in a story. To encourage flow and to make everything seem more exciting, try passing the passive voice. For instance, instead of saying “she was running towards the bridge,” say “she ran towards the bridge.” This makes your story more readable than you’d think.

Avoid long sentences. Even when separated by a comma, long sentences can cause a reader to stumble. Consider breaking down lengthy sentences into smaller ones if possible.

Drop unneeded adverbs. Adverb abuse is a real problem among writers. While they have their place (even though some writers discourage using them altogether,) there are unnecessary adverbs. Don’t say that something is “really big,” but instead use a stronger word such as “gargantuan.” While you shouldn’t give every word the thesaurus treatment, doing it in those cases can help.

There are programs that can help you out. Word has a style check that detects some of these problems, but you have to turn it on. There are other advanced writing analysis tools you could use, some of them free. Whatever the case, check them out and improve your writing.