R is for Revision: 5 Ways to Better Editing (Part 2 of the Write Like a D.R.A.G.O.N. series)

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Are you ready to write like a D.R.A.G.O.N.? In this six part series, you’ll learn what it takes to step up your writing game and embrace your inner D.R.A.G.O.N.! Our second installment reveals why R stands for Revision. If you’re struggling with refining your writing and making the story sparkle, here are 5 ways to improve:

1.     Just Do It. No Excuses.

I know, revision sucks. Do it anyway. Revise literally means “to see again” and that translates into more than just checking for proper spelling and comma use. D.R.A.G.O.N. writers know the difference between winning written work and the pile of ash that is the lazy man’s first draft. As William Zinsser once said, “Rewriting is the essence of writing well—where the game is won or lost.”

2.     Write Hot. Edit Cold.

Chances are you’ve heard this phrase, and it rings with a lot of truth. Once you finish spitting out that first draft, let it settle for a while. Give it a day, a week, a month even! To be a D.R.A.G.O.N. writer means to know how to be patient as well as how to be dedicated. Let it cool, and then keep it cold with a critical eye that judges every sentence for its worth, its structure, and its ability to keep the story moving.

3.     Cut the Filler. Cut the Boring.

With every sentence you write, and then go back and stare at for ten minutes during revision, you have to ask yourself a very important question: Is this word / sentence / paragraph needed? Is it moving the story or is it boring and unnecessary? D.R.A.G.O.N. writers ask these hard questions so they can effectively make their writing more engaging for their reader.

4.     Read it Out Loud.

Believe it or not, a sentence can sound a lot different when read aloud than when read in your head. Read your entire work aloud. How does each word roll off your tongue? Can you finish each sentence before it turns into a drawn-out monologue? D.R.A.G.O.N. writers cherish the ability to vocalize their writing and improve it through a new medium: the spoken word.

5.     Get a Critique Partner and/or Beta Reader.

Let’s be honest: self-revising can only take you so far. Even after spending hours staring at your work, polishing it to its shiniest, and killing those darlings that aren’t helping your story, writers are going to miss things. You’re too close to your work to fully critique it, so you need beta readers (aka partners in crime). Whether it’s someone who loves to read or a fellow writer, you need someone to offer honest feedback. D.R.A.G.O.N. writers understand the worth of good, solid, constructive criticism. And if you need help finding a good critique partner, head on over to this post.

Congratulations! Now you’re well on your way to awesome revision. Don’t delay… your inner D.R.A.G.O.N. is hungry for some hard-core editing. And be sure to watch for Part 3 of this series coming soon.

Have a thought or question on revising your written work? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

About alishabmarie

Sometimes I write things. Sometimes they are even good.
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