I think daily revisions are important. I don’t mean revise as you write. That’s a delaying tactic and you will never finish a rough draft that way. I mean practicing. Yes, practice makes perfect is a cliché for a reason. It’s true. You can revise something you wrote prior, I work on new writing for an hour or so day then switch to an older piece and revise it. It keeps my inner editor happy and honed. I have also taken some published text from a book or magazine — even the newspaper, copied the text, or part of it anyway, to my computer in Word and revise it as though I had written it. I don’t even keep it, I just practice revision on it. I usually have something I wrote to work on though. It’s better to work on your own work simply because most published work is already optimally revised. You could try rewriting it in your own words, assuming you have time to do that.
When revising, look for adverbs. They are a sign of weak writing. You don’t have to completely eliminate them. They are a part of speech. I tend to keep them in dialog because people use them in everyday speech. Do a search for -ly words and cut down the number you have. That’s all.
You need to ensure that your dialog is not stilted. Read it and make sure that you have realistic words. Ask yourself if someone would really speak that way? Look out for dialog tags like said, howled, etc. Cut down on them. Insert action between dialog. Make sure your reader knows who is speaking when. Keep the tags to a minimum.
Verb tense is also important. You don’t want a case like. He said. He did. He stood. He runs. He spoke. Keep your tenses consistent. You don’t want to slip between tenses. Pick a tense and run with it.
Use your word processor’s word frequency tool to see how many times you have used a particular word to cut down on repetition, but also watch for the time when you repeat an idea in different words. You don’t want to do that too often.
What you need to do is read the work out loud. I actually have my computer read it to me. That way I can listen for awkward phrases, typos, and other issues I might not catch if I read it myself.
Revision is an important part of writing. Do it well and your story will be the better for it. Ignore it and you will lose readers. It’s as simple as that. In order to write well, you need to be able to revise well. If you can afford an editor, go that route, but if you can’t, you will have to do it yourself. Do the best job you can on the revision and your work will be better for it.
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