The Top Ten Checklist to Edit Your Own Writing
Judy Cullins c. 2006
Whether you are writing a book, an article, or your Web site sales copy, you need to know that your words speak well for you. Power writing is not easy for most writers, yet when you know that the benefits of smart editing =more clients and customers, you will want to use the 10-item check list below.
Use This 10 Checklist to Edit your Own Work
1. Start your book, article, or chapter ntroduction with a question or startling fact. You must hook your readers with something that reaches their emotions. Make it “you” centered. Include a few key words in your first sentence to attract the search engines.
2. Make your introduction only a few sentences. Your readers want a benefit early on so they will want to read more. Make the rest of your article support your thesis and first paragraph that includes the hook.
3. Make all of your sentences short. Since standard sentence length is 15-17 words, make most of your sentences under that number. Complex sentences and multiple phrases make the reading tougher and slower. Make it easy for your readers to get the point fast.
4. Avoid dull, slow passive sentences. Start them with a subject, then follow with a verb to avoid passive construction. "The coach marketed her business and books through submitting articles online" is an active sentence. "The coach's books were marketed online through submitting articles" is passive. Drop linking verbs such as "is," "was," "seemed," or "had." Replace them with power, active verbs. Instead of "she is beautiful," you could say,"Her beauty compels you to stare at her".
5. Aim for compelling, clear copy. Write for the 8-10th grade reader. Always think "What's in it for them?" Your reader wants to get to the heart of your book chapter, article, or Web copy fast. While a short story is fine, make all you write clear and easy to read. That's what makes readers finish a chapter and want to read more. That's what makes the web visitor stay with your site more than 10 seconds.
6. Use specific nouns and names. General references don't engage your readers' emotions. Let them see the size, color, shape. Rather than say, "Write your book fast to make lifelong income," say "Write and finish your book fast so you can take that long vacation to a Caribbean island such as Tobago." Money isn't a specific pull, but a vacation is.
7. Let go of adverbs. Words like very, suddenly, and sparingly that tell instead of show. People want to see and feel and don't pay much attention to adverbs. Use adverbs only at Christmas.
8. Don't use pompous words. Use the shortest, most well-known word. Instead of "utilize," try "use." The more syllables in a word, the harder to get the point across. Let go of unneeded adjectives. Instead of "Kathy is a super-intelligent person, you can say "Kathy, a genius, can sell a bikini to an Eskimo."
9. Appeal to the senses of sight, sound, and emotions. Telling is not an effective. Instead of "Buy this book today because it is so useful," say, "Would you like to double, even quadruple your business income in five months?"
10.Cut redundancies. Don't talk down to your reader with too much repetition. Be willing to part with your "precious" words. The first edit usually reduces your words by ¼ to 1/3.
If you are a professional who wants your writing to reflect that, be sure to follow the editing tips above. With active, thoughtful writing, you'll gain confidence that your writing will attract and sell.
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Book and Internet Marketing Coach, Judy Cullins, can help you build credibility and clients, sell a lot of books, and make maximum profits. Author of 11 books including Write your eBook or Other Short Book Fast and The Fast and Cheap Way to Explode Targeted Web Traffic" Get her free eBook"20 High Octane Book Writing and Marketing Tips" and two free monthly ezines at http://www.bookcoaching.com