Storytelling Tip: Be a better editor to be a better writer
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s storytelling tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
Editing is an afterthought for many writers. But it’s an essential element of good writing.
Good editing can salvage bad writing. And it can make good writing really sparkle.
So, what does good editing look like? What are you trying to accomplish? Here are some things to look for when editing:
- Trim the fat. Most of us use more words than we need when writing. Eliminating excess words, sentences or paragraphs is the single most effective way to improve your writing. Edit, edit, edit. Then edit some more. Be ruthless as you ferret out unneeded words and phrases.
- Fill in the blanks. Editors are notorious for taking things out. It’s part of their job. But a good editor also looks for things that need to be added. Where are holes in the story? What questions will the reader have that aren’t answered? Fill in those blanks.
- Put things in order. Does the story you’re editing flow in a logical sequence? If not, put things in order.
- Tune it up. Good writing, like good music, has a rhythm to it. Listen to your writing as you’re editing it. If it doesn’t sound right, there’s an edit in there somewhere waiting to be made.
- Correct the typos. Typos are the bane of every writer I know. A misspelled word, a missing word or a misused word will be distracting to your readers. And too many of these mistakes will destroy your credibility. An occasional typo is inevitable. But there’s no excuse for having a lot of them. One of my rules for myself: If I find a typo when proofing a document, I read the entire document again because I know there are still mistakes lurking within it.
To reiterate: Be a better editor to be a better writer. If you treat editing as nothing more than an afterthought, you’re not telling the best version of your story.
That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?
Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.
Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 10:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.