On Writing and Editing
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“I recently started studying editing and proofreading. Currently, this is my main area of focus.”
“Besides writing you mean?”
“I got started with editing because I want to get into freelancing. But I discovered that writing and editing go beautifully together, they’re complementary skills.
Editing helps me become a better writer.“
“Editing involves delving into the principles and mechanics of good writing.
In acquiring the skill of editing, you’re developing what I call the editing eye. This is essentially pattern-recognition. You’re internalizing perceptual lenses [<link; short read] that allow you to see any piece of writing with new eyes.”
“Can you give an example?”
“One such lens is wordiness – using more words than necessary or unnecessarily complex or abstract words.
Internalizing the lens means actually seeing the instances of wordiness in a text, in all its forms:
Filler Words / Stretchers: Words that add quantity not quality.
William persuades by means of logic.
William persuades by logic.
Redundancies: Words that say the same thing more than once.
We share in common a love for reading.
We share a love for reading.
Phony Intensifiers: Words that attempt to exaggerate what you’re saying. Such words strain to appear confident but actually signal the opposite.
I am absolutely confident in my abilities.
I am confident in my abilities.
Thickeners: Words that few people use in everyday speech.
Sarah found the means whereby she could cheat on tomorrow’s test.
Sarah found a way to cheat on tomorrow’s test.