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Revising and Editing Written Work - Some Tips

Editing your work is just about the most important part of the process; you may have written a masterpiece and be ready to launch it onto the world, but there are several things that must be considered before you take the plunge. Is your work grammatically correct? Is your spelling up to scratch? Is the punctuation all in place, and have you been thorough enough with your editing?

All of these questions must be asked before you set out to provide work to a publisher - nobody, after all, supplies a first draft for publication. The editing process is one that can be somewhat time consuming, for it involves several steps - let's have a look at some tips towards successful editing.

1: Edit yourself before giving to another. Read through your manuscript and you will undoubtedly find passages that can be revised; remember that at this point most editing involves reduction and correction rather than addition.

2: Ask another to follow you. Two heads are always better than one, but the best thing about a fresh pair of eyes is that they will spot things you did not. Allow your editor - choose a friend or someone from a writing group or circle - to have full say on suggestions, and do not be offended.

3: Do not rely on a computer spell-checker. These tools are essential and very useful, but are not foolproof. A spellchecker cannot distinguish between some forms of words, and is not human hence does not notice many mistakes. Use a person - you or another - to check the results.

4: Look for the misuse of punctuation. Comma's, apostrophes and further are frequently misused yet only spotted at a later date; double check you grammatical style and make sure everything is straight and on the ball.

5: Do not be afraid to expel superfluous passages. Cutting down is the essence of good editing, and you should be ready to remove words, sentences and even whole passages that are not necessary. Where an article is written to a word count this can be vital and very useful indeed.

All in all, editing and revision is about improvement, yet very often the best improvement can be made by reduction. Make sure you are not tempted to add to your work for the sake of it.

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