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Editing Guide from Rick Moody

Editing Guide

          It’s finals week, I’m pressed for time, and I have a lot to do, hence the reason I had no blog post yesterday. I have no time today either, so I decided to post this editing guide I got from and author, Rick Moody, at a writer's conference.

1)      Take out unnecessary words. Omit needless words.
2)      Sacrifice your modifiers. Death to adverbs and adjectives. They get in the way of good verb and noun choice.
3)      Consider the rhythm (sentence structure)
4)      Get out of to have and to be.
5)      Simplify tenses. Pick a tense and stick to it. Past or present. Past tense is preferable.
6)      Spill your parenthetical. Do you need to digress? Maybe just continue… Try it.
7)      Avoid alliteration in prose. Alliteration in prose comes off as purple. Less is more.
8)      Rethink abstraction
9)      Use figurative language sparingly (metaphors, similes etc…) Greek rhetorical
10)  Engage all five senses. (Need to work on that). Sound, smell…
11)  Cut the last sentence…? Ambiguous endings that open up to possibility of something more. Endings don’t need to be tidy. No such thing.
12)  Read the passage aloud. Reveals mistakes. Read aloud to someone else.
13)  Put the draft away. Get rid of infatuation with your language.
14)  Do the above twelve to twenty times. (I’m not doing more than five!)
15)  When you revise and then change it back again, that’s enough revising
            16) Four imperative types of imagination. Recombination, substitution, and intuition… (there’s one more and I have to fine it.

           I'll explain it more later. Right now, I'm in a rush.

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April Plummer said...

I like #13 - "get rid of infatuation with your language." All of it's very good, succinct advice. Thanks for posting it!