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A universal conundrum for writers advanced and novice: How to edit if you don’t have an independent editor?

One of my writer friends, Tom Drinkard, who regularly (and I do mean regularly) blogs great advice for writers at Pinnacle Writing recently raised this question and offered some suggestions.

Tom goes into it a bit deeper than I do here, but it occurred to me to share what works for me, or at least what I think works for me:

I edit as I write in two ways. First I read over every sentence I put down on paper as I do so. The next day, as a matter of continuity, I edit/rewrite the scene(s) from the day before just before I move onto the next day’s scene(s), both reading silently and out loud. Reading out loud is an incredibly helpful editing tool. In this fashion, when I finish my “first” draft of a manuscript, it’s actually at least a second if not a third draft, meaning it’s now ready for the other editors I beg, borrow and steal to help me out.


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  • Tiffany Jones

    Hi Ron—

    It was so great to go through the website training with you today. I can see that your thought processes work analytically like you describe in this blog. I think your website visitors will enjoy your blogs and exchanging comments with you.

    • Thanks, Tiffany. Your training session was very helpful, and will help me to make the most out of my website.

  • Lawrence Lugash

    great blog

  • Fred Grossman

    Unfortunately, most of us don’t write anything worthy of being edited.

    • This blog was actually intended for those who do write, or wish to write. (You know, “Those who can do, do, and those who can’t, teach.”) But I find your comment interesting on several levels.

      There are those who think they can write but are not really very good at it. (Moi?) Still, they try and I think that’s a good thing, particularly if it brings them satisfaction or a sense of pride or accomplishment. And it certainly doesn’t hurt anyone, other than a tree or two, and only then if they hit print.

      Then there are those who think they can’t (or who think they have nothing “worthy” of writing), but who actually can, and do. I know you to be well read, and to have interesting thoughts on any number of subjects. If you read and you think, then writing is only one step removed, and a nice way to engage and share your thoughts. Few thoughts are “unworthy.”

      I think your comment and this reply demonstrates the value of engaging and expressing one’s thoughts. Thanks for doing so! I hope you’ll do it again.

    • Thanks for this additional post. Was I right, that this time you didn’t have to login to Disqus, and only had to click on post as Fred Grossman after you typed your comment? Please let me know. (If you did have to login again, then just login once more and click the box that says stay logged in.)
      By the way, when you get your Disqus notification, check out my reply to your posted comment.


      Ronald S. Barak
      Law Offices of Ronald S. Barak
      Sent from my iPad Mini

      This communication may contain privileged, confidential or proprietary information. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender and delete. Thank you.

  • Fred Grossman

    I was thinking more of writing fiction.

    • No reason why you can’t do that too. It’s certainly easier on the back and legs than lots of other things we attempt! Start with a magical short story to stick your toe in the water. 🙂 Better yet, start with a “flash” story, which is anywhere from 100 words to 1,000 words. How about this for an opening paragraph in your flash story to get you started, meaning all you have to do is finish it off: “He opened his eyes, unable to believe what was there in front of him, staring him down. He thought about making a run for it. Unfortunately, it was too late.” You can Google “Flash Stories” and you will get lots of good ideas and examples. There are also contests for stories of 100 words or less, full stories with a beginning a middle and an ending, all in no more than 100 words.
      By the way, note that you posted your latest comment as a reply to my original post. When you mean instead to reply to a comment in an exchange of comments, such as the one I presented to you this morning, note that you can click on reply under my comment rather than reply under my original post so that everyone readily knows what you are replying to. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.