27 Writing, Editing Tips for Better Content

I picked this up over the weekend, and it contains so many good tips I have to give it the Monday reblog. If you’re looking to improve your blog or website content, this is a must-read.

StoryCroft

We talk a lot about storytelling and content in business communications, marketing, websites and social media. The conversation is often about the Big Picture, and that’s important, of course. But strategies and UX studies won’t help us if our content isn’t as good as it can be.

Even the little things can turn people off.

If you want your content consumed, understood and shared, here are 27 things you must never do.

 

 

1. Never start a communications project without knowing what you’re trying to say, to whom and why. Talk it out.

2. Never oversell. In headlines and links, don’t promise too much excitement or information. (Nobody likes click bait.) In text, avoid overused adjectives like “amazing,” exclamation points and all-caps.

3. Never assume people already know what you’re sharing about. Or where your photo was shot. Or why they should keep watching your video.

4. Never be…

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A to Z Day 18: Revision

I think the three most important parts of the writing process are:

Click for A to Z blog list.

Click for A to Z blog list.

1. Actually finishing a draft.

2. Revising the draft (which is different than editing).

3. Finding someone else to read it and give you feedback.

I talked about the importance of finishing drafts on Saturday. Today’s post is all about revision. Understanding the writing process in a general way is important, but understanding what works for you is even more important. Once we get down to details, every writer’s process is unique. I suggest finding a writing process that allows you to play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

I outlined my own writing process in detail not long after I started this blog (apologies for the awfulness of the graphic). The first thing I do to a draft before I even think about real revision is cut words. That’s because I’m wordy — it’s a real weakness for me, so I have a step in my personal writing process just to compensate for it.

Once I get to the real revision stage, I’m asking myself these sorts of questions:

  1. Is my language appropriate for my audience and purpose?
  2. Have I organized this piece of writing in a logical way?
  3. Is there any part of this that I could remove entirely without changing the quality of the writing or the message I’m communicating?
  4. Is it well-paced?
  5. For Fiction: Are my characters acting like real people? Do they have motivations and weaknesses? Are they just doing what they’re doing to make the plot work?

These are the sorts of issues I deal with in revision. Questions that might require a wholesale rewrite. You have to be willing to do wholesale rewrites if you want to get better. Revision is not about fixing your punctuation and grammar — that’s editing, and it should be the last thing you do.

Editing a piece of writing before you’re sure you have a mostly-finished draft is a waste of productivity. What if you spend half an hour editing a page of text, then decide later to cut the whole thing? Just wasted 30 minutes of your finite life fixing grammar and punctuation that will never matter to anyone, is what you did.

Revision is important. It is what turns mediocre writing into good writing, and good writing into great.

A to Z badge by Jeremy of Being Retro. Pins from Part Time Monster’s Reading and Writing Board.

 

 

Editing resources: Nathan Bransford

Taylor Grace

I’m deep inside the World of Editing. I’m reading, re-reading and hacking away at Amy’s Courage. It’s not easy. Like most writers, I hate editing. But it’s a necessity. It must be done.

What helps me is to break it down in to little pieces that are manageable and to believe I can do it. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. I don’t have to get it perfect right now, I just want progress.

It also helps if I have resources. And one of the best I’ve seen is Nathan Bransford. The guy is genius. He’s actually written a book on how to write a novel.

Here are some examples of Nathan’s amazing resources for editing:

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/06/revision-checklist.html This is a revision check list to beat all checklists. If you can get through it, your novel will shine brighter than the sun. Awesome resource.

Do you have enough…

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