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10 Simple Rules for Editing Mini-Novels September 13, 2006

Posted by Myke Bartlett in CSC 2006 Classwork Archives.
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The secret to good writing is good editing, which we’ll all be helping each with as we get ready to start work on our second drafts.

1) Homophones: These are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. It’s easy to get these mixed up when you’re writing, even if you know what you should be writing. There’s a complete list of them here: Homophones  (click on link to see) eg. witch/witch
there/their/they’re
to/too/two
(also make sure you’re not mixing up off and of.)

2: Don’t use the word “and” (or any other word) more than ONCE in a sentence unless you really need to. It’s usually worth trying to say things in a different way.

3: A sentence really shouldn’t be longer than 1.5 lines.

4: A new character speaking means a new line.

eg. “Which witch should I use there?” Jonno asked.

“It depends whether you mean an evil crone or not,” Jess replied.

5: A new paragraph needs an indentation (you can do this by hitting the TAB key once.) You should also indent speech.

eg. This is a new paragraph so it needs to be indented. You would also indent a line if it was someone speaking.

“Like this,” said Someone.

6: Capitals are for names, places and the start of sentences. You can also use them for acronyms or abbreviations, such as RSPCA, AFL or YMCA.

7: Who is telling the story? Is it a he, a she or an I?

First Person: I am telling the story.

Third Person: The story is about someone else (a him or a her.)

8: When is the story happening?

Make sure the tense is consistent (the same the whole way through).

Present tense: The story is happening.

Past tense: The story had already happened.

9: Where is the story happening?

Be descriptive about the setting and the characters. The reader will want to know where things are happening and what the characters are like.

10: Make sure the sentence makes sense. Also, is it necessary? Or is it telling us something we already know?

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